21st TSC inducts 77th Honorary Colonel

Story and photo by Mike Bowers
21st TSC Public Affairs

Partnership activities with a 21st Theater Sustainment Command unit have earned a German lord mayor and German army reserve lieutenant colonel induction to the command’s Honorary Colonels’ Association during a ceremony Sept. 20 in Fritz Walter Stadium in Kaiserslautern.

Norbert Bücherl, lord mayor of his hometown Freihung, Germany, was presented a plaque officially designating him as an Honorary Colonel from Maj. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, commanding general of the 21st TSC.

The Honorary Colonels’ Award is given to local community leaders who, through their personal efforts, work diligently to support the U.S. Army and 21st TSC and foster German-American relationships. Bücherl is the 77th Honorary Colonel but said he is the first inductee from the German region of Unterfranken.

“It’s a great honor and distinction for me as a (lord) mayor and reserve officer of a community in the Upper Palatinate to receive this award,” said Bücherl at the ceremony organized and hosted by the 21st TSC’s Theater Logistics Support Center Europe. “And, as I learned today, I am the first inductee here in the Palatinate from the Upper Palatinate.

“We are partners not only as far as the military is concerned but also as friends,” Bücherl added. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder during deployments. Spouses and the children remain behind, alone in a foreign country. Therefore we should, and we want to, support the families as well. And who better to do so than us Germans who are right there. That is one of the goals of our partnership to come to their aid, assist them a bit.”

 Bücherl, also the Germany Military Reserve Association chairman, was responsible for establishing and promoting partnership opportunities between Bundeswehr reserve soldiers and the 21st TSC’s 16th Sustainment Brigade. Activities included participation in U.S. Army Europe exercises, changes of command, as well as casing and uncasing ceremonies.

He planned and coordinated a series of certification events for U.S. Soldiers to earn the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency, arranged for a training session on a German Leopard Main Battle Tank, and conducted qualifications events for 50 U.S. Soldiers to earn the German Marksmanship Badge (Schützenschnur).

In addition, Bücherl led a joint effort with the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion to raise money for the German War Graves Commission and arranged a trip to Berlin where the battalion’s Soldiers met with the German War Graves Commission.

“The induction to Honorary Colonel bears testimony to the high respect and appreciation shown for Mr. Bücherl’s personal efforts in improving German-American relations between the Military Reserve Association-Freihung District and the U.S. Army Europe and between the community of Freihung and the U.S. Army Garrison-Grafenwöhr,” Piggee said.

“Friendship and mutual support always count and count even more in these days of transformation in our command,” Piggee added. “Your support, assistance, cooperation and vital contributions are critical to our success. Your friendship makes us feel home in our local communities throughout Germany. The partnership with our host nation communities makes us stronger and richer, and we will support it now and in the future, because good friends will always remain friends.”

In addition to a contingent of 21st command-level Soldiers, German dignitaries from politics, public administration, business, science and sports attended the event held in the home stadium of Kaiserslautern’s professional soccer team, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, or the “Red Devils.”

“This is a very special day, and I am especially excited to be honored here in Kaiserslautern at this special location, the Fritz Walter Stadium — I am a soccer fan,” Bücherl said.