A delegation of more than 50 Soldiers, officers and civilians from the 21st Theater Support Command attended and participated in a change of command ceremony in Cologne hosted by the German Ministry of Defense Feb. 16.
The 21st TSC’s color guard joined their German counterparts for the ceremony when Lt. Gen. Ulf von Krause passed command of the “Streitkräfteunter-stützungskommando” to his deputy, Gen. Maj. Kersten Lahl. A platoon of Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 21st TSC and the 200th Theater Distribution Brigade attended.
For two years, the 21st TSC has been in close partnership with the Cologne-based joint support command, which comprises 25 percent of the German Army’s total force, said Lt. Col. Michael Doerr, 21st TSC German liaison.
The Soldiers were proud to be part of a ceremony attended by more than 40 general officers and numerous VIPs.
“To actually go out there and participate in such a big event, to actually take part in a ceremony with German soldiers was an honor and a privilege,” said Sgt. Dagmar Walker, a weapons guard in the 21st TSC’s color guard.
Another Soldier, Pfc. Neyda Franco-Mejia, an NBC Specialist with the 200th Theater Distribution Brigade, saw the event as a multicultural experience.
“It’s great to get to talk to Soldiers from different countries, to see their uniforms and how they do things,” she said
General von Krause’s official welcome of the 21st TSC added to their experience.
“I had felt sort of like a spectator when the speeches were given in German,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip J. Thorpe, the 21st TSC deputy commander – support. “But then General von Krause shifted to English to greet and recognize our Soldiers. And again later, at the reception, he couldn’t say enough about the 21st TSC and how pleased he was that we could be there experiencing the ceremony with him. He thanked us very sincerely.”
General Thorpe recounted he was awed and inspired by the event.
He said he was impressed with the precision of the Germans’ performance and the way the music fit the mood. He said that he was excited to be a part of the ceremony and that he had reason to be proud.
“Our Soldiers executed their commands flawlessly, they were really good. And our color guard also performed to perfection,” he said.