By Staff Sgt. Warren Wright
For some, the American military in Germany is a mystery. By participating in the 2014 Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command is able to break down the barriers of its fences and show the local nationals everyone is a part of the same community.
“Sometimes it seems like we sit behind walls most of the time,” said Maj. Neil Hurd, a nurse and anesthetist with the 212th Command Support Hospital and a native of Morgan, Utah. “I’m sure it’s kind of a mystery to them what we do and maybe even a little scary that we’re in their country. By getting out here we can show them that what we do is meant to do good.”
Soldiers from throughout the 21st Theater Sustainment Command showed off their various capabilities during a Rheinland-Pfalz state-sponsored fair in Neuwied, Germany, July 18-20.
The 2014 Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag is an annual event taking part in a different city within the state each year, bringing together people from all across the state in order to showcase the many various state institutions and organizations within Rheinland-Pfalz.
Representing the 21st TSC this year were the 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company, the 7th Civil Support Command’s Medical Support Unit-Europe and 773rd Civil Support Team, the 30th Medical Brigade’s 212th Combat Support Hospital, and the Theater Logistics Support Center-Europe.
“We’re here supporting our higher command and conducting community engagement,” said Capt. Hubert Little, a medical operations officer from the 773rd CST and a native of Lawrenceville, Georgia. “We’re letting (the locals) see what our capabilities are and what we bring to the table as a partner. It allows them to see how we’re supporting Germany and our allies.”
For the 21st TSC, working closely with its German partners is a daily occurrence, and Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag provided an excellent opportunity to emphasize that to the participants.
“One of our main missions is to work in collaboration with the Germans and the other nations within Europe,” said Capt. Jessica Taylor, a physician assistant with the MSU-E. “We do a lot, and the more we can get our face out there and show that we’re helping will help build better relationships within our community.”
Rheinland-Pfalz-Tag gave the various contributing 21st TSC units the opportunity to highlight their specific and unique missions to the participants of the annual event.
The displays at the event included paratroopers from the 5th QM demonstrating how to properly pack a parachute, soldiers from the 773rd CST showcasing their decontamination equipment, medical specialists from the 212th CSH exhibiting their field hospital equipment, soldiers with the MSU-E with their medical simulator mannequins, and apprentices with the TLSC-E highlighting some of the unique training they receive.
“Our capabilities are kind of special,” said Sgt. Edwin Schimmer, a parachute rigger from the 5th QM and a native of Phenix City, Alabama. “We want to show everyone that there’s another side to the military where we can provide humanitarian relief as well as dropping equipment to fight war.”
“We’re not just here to be the big, bad Army – we’re here to show everyone that we’re also a part of the community,” added Schimmer.
Additionally, soldiers participating in the event had the opportunity to get to know their neighbors in the community they live in.
“It’s important for not only my soldiers, but for everyone to get out here and demonstrate the capabilities between ourselves and our partner nations, the similarities between our training and the ways we can help foster a good environment for our community here in Germany,” said Schimmer.
Pfc. Molly Parr, also a parachute rigger from the 5th QM, agrees.
“Because we live in the community, it’s important for us to show them that we’re friendly,” said the Kalama, Washington native. “They’ve been so welcoming to us and it’s important that we do the same.”