Army COVID-19 prevention focus of Baumholder visit by local host-nation leaders

Col. Vance J. Klosinski explains garrison efforts to combat COVID to Matthias Schneider, Birkenfeld, Germany, County Commissioner (foreground), during a visit to Baumholder Military Community.

Showcasing measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID and protect the American population, the U.S. Army welcomed local leaders to U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and the Baumholder Military Community March 3.

Birkenfeld County Commis-sioner Matthias Schneider and Baumholder District Mayor Bernd Alsfasser were among six guests who toured Baumholder facilities and spoke to Army subject-matter experts and public health officials. Garrison Commander Col. Vance J. Klosinski, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander, led the tour and discussion.

Officials spoke with leaders from the garrison COVID forensics-contact team, Team Trace, and toured portions of the 16th Special Troops Battalion, part of the 16th Sustainment Brigade. Leaders were also able to gain insight on how a Department of Defense Education Activity facility prevents the spread of COVID by touring Baumholder Middle and High School.

“It is important to show our community partners the measures we are taking to fight COVID are in line with what the host-nation is doing outside the fence,” Klosinski said. “Having the county commissioner and the district mayor have boots on the ground helps them understand that we are in this fight together and that we are in concert with our German neighbors in this effort.”

Leah Zamor, principal of Baumholder Middle and High School greets Matthias Schneider, Birkenfeld, Germany, County Commissioner during a visit to the school located in the Baumholder Military Community March 3.

“My trust in our American neighbors has been confirmed,” said Schneider, thanking garrison leadership for the open and informative dialogue.

Joining the commissioner and the mayor were Hans-Juergen Bruenesholz, Director Youth, Schools, Social Affairs, and Health Authority; Diana Thiel, Birkenfeld County Health Department Director; Carolin Smith, Assistant Health Department; Karsten Schultheis, County Public Affairs Representative; and Dr. Robert Weien, Public Health Emergency Officer, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.

For Thiel, getting to know people and the system on the U.S. side was important. “We already know some people through the phone calls we make every day, but now we know exactly who we are working with as partners,” Thiel said.

All participants wore masks and maintained physical distancing during the two-hour visit to Baumholder.

Matthias Schneider, Birkenfeld, Germany, county commissioner (right middle), listens to a briefing about ‘Team Trace’ and the efforts of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz to fight COVID during a visit to Baumholder Military Community March 3. The two-hour visit included a stop in Team Trace’s nerve center providing the commissioner and other local German officials insight into how the Army fights COVID and protects its population in the Baumholder community.