A German attorney with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate is being recognized for his exceptional achievements and outstanding service in support of the military legal assistance effort.
Joerg Moddelmog, the senior German attorney-adviser for the Kaiserslautern Legal Services Center, and a native of Clueversborstel, Germany, has been awarded the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Distinguished Service Award for 2012.
According to the narrative for his award, Moddelmog won because of his “extraordinary work ethic, prodigious publishing of preventive law handouts and articles, highly effective teaching and mentoring, and exemplary efforts to protect American service members and Department of Defense civilian employees from host nation taxation of their salaries, which set him apart from his contemporaries. No other attorney has done more to help legal assistance practitioners throughout the armed forces advise their clients on how matters are handled under German or European law.”
“It was certainly a big surprise and a tremendous honor,” Moddelmog said. “It’s wonderful to even get recognized for a job that you love to do.”
“The major accomplishment here, in terms of this award, which is a very prestigious award, is that this is the first time ever that someone who is not a U.S. citizen has won this award,” said Stephen W. Smith, the senior civilian attorney for the 21st TSC. “It really reflects great credit on not only Mr. Moddelmog, but upon the kind of work that all of our host nation attorneys do.”
“I didn’t even know a non-U.S. citizen would qualify,” Moddelmog said.
Moddelmog’s dedication to helping Soldiers and their families understand the complexities of German laws is something that makes him stand out among his peers.
“Mr. Moddelmog draws on his extraordinary linguistic skills and first-hand experience of American culture to make complicated German legal concepts easy for Americans to comprehend,” Smith said. “Clients from as far away as Stuttgart and Bamberg have driven hundreds of kilometers to seek his counsel and representation.”
“When Soldiers come to a foreign country, they don’t understand the law. There’s a language barrier, and they just want to know how things work,” Moddelmog said. “I try to do my job as best as I can by working at different levels with different approaches. I like helping Soldiers.”
Moddelmog is expected to be recognized for his achievements during a ceremony later this summer.