***image1***After more than three years, the German Bundeswehr officially relinquished its role as guardian of the Ramstein gates on Wednesday. Guard duty was handed off to members of the 435th Security Forces Squadron at 10 p.m. that same day.
“We are very grateful for the outstanding job the Bundeswehr did in supplementing base security,” said Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander. “Their diligence and attention to detail played a crucial part in maintaining a safe environment for personnel on Ramstein.”
An official ceremony was held earlier on Wednesday at Ramstein’s West Gate to commemorate the duty transfer. A separate ceremony to thank the Bundeswehr for their efforts took place Thursday at the Berlin Wall memorial behind the Ramstein Officers’ Club.
“The German troops were tremendous force protection partners over the past three years,” said Maj. Ron Gray, 435th Security Forces Squadron commander. “Their presence has allowed hundreds of my security forces to deploy in support of both operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. My security forces are prepared to provide outstanding installation entry control throughout Ramstein Air Base.”
The Bundeswehr first arrived at Ramstein on March 7, 2003, as 153 German Soldiers began helping with entry control and vehicle search. Their arrival stemmed from a U.S. request to the German government for resources to help fight the Global War on Terrorism.
During their time here, 94 contingents and approximately 14,500 German military members fulfilled the guard assignment.