Farewell Team Ramstein, Greater KMC

by Brig. Gen. Bill Bender
86th Airlift Wing and KMC commander

As my time as wing commander for Ramstein Air Base and the KMC draws to an end, I want to thank the entire base and local community for their unwavering support of the base and the U.S. service men and women and family members who are so fortunate to be assigned here.

Sue and I knew before arriving 19 months ago the bonds of friendship this community enjoys were a testament to the surrounding community’s understanding of the value of strong U.S.-German relationships. Throughout my time as wing commander, we have come to realize that volunteerism, patriotism and community involvement on the part of all those who truly care about Ramstein and the greater KMC are a way of life, and we have been enriched by the experiences we have had here.

In short, we feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people and formed so many friendships within a larger community that has so much to offer. This has been a great place to live, work and play!

The unsurpassed support the KMC receives from our host nation friends is inextricably tied to the overwhelming sense of pride we feel when calling Germany home, but compassion and caring are the foundation qualities of the special relationship our base shares with Ramstein-Miesenbach, Landstuhl and many other surrounding Kaiserslautern communities. Plain and simple, no other overseas American base enjoys a better relationship with its local community – thank you for being such good friends to our wing and to our KMC military members and their families.

I would be remiss if I failed to thank some very special people who give so much of themselves to make us feel a strong part of this wonderful community. Our local mayors, Kaiserslautern Lord Mayor Klaus Weichel, Ramstein-Miesenbach Mayor Klaus Layes and Landstuhl Mayor Klaus Grumer, have given generously and selflessly of their time to work with me to make the KMC better for all military members and their families. In supporting us as they do, we are better able to carry out the important missions we have that directly contribute to making a better future for all of us.

I want to especially thank everyone who has volunteered both their time and talent, literally in hundreds of ways throughout my tenure, for their incredible generosity in supporting our wing and the numerous Airmen and Soldier support programs available to servicemembers and families.

Volunteerism is a hallmark of the KMC and will be the single aspect of our time here that Sue and I will look back on most fondly. There have been no better friends to my wing and the Airmen I’ve been so privileged to lead than the volunteers who have served Ramstein for nearly six decades and are still serving today. 

Brig. Gen. (sel) Mark Dillon and his wife Sara and their family will soon experience the joy of living and serving in this great community as the next 86th Airlift Wing and KMC commander at Ramstein. He is understandably excited for the opportunity and will soon chart a new course to successfully navigate the base and its people through whatever the future may hold.

Sue and I wish the Dillon family and all of you who have touched our lives in such a meaningful and lasting way our very best. Until we meet again, Auf Wiedersehen!