***image1***Military members stationed overseas often notice some inconveniences on
the German economy, but for those lucky enough to be stationed in
Kaiserslautern, help with such dilemma is just a phone call away.
Since February 2003, more than 6,000 customers have used the services the German-American Community Office has to offer.
The bilingual staff, provided by Kaiserslautern, the Air Force and the
Army, functions as a bridge between the American and German
Questions of administrative nature dominate GACO’s daily operations.
GACO has no authority to change any regulations or issue any documents,
but can provide useful information. Knowing the proper German
procedures and who to see in order to accomplish personal affairs is
key information GACO can provide.
Queries on such things like garbage pick-up schedules or obtaining
licenses are fairly simple and routine. More complicated queries deal
with visas, retiring in Germany, or marriage between Americans and
foreign nationals. Other queries that reach the office deal with
contacting German-American clubs, finding information on specific
events and activities, understanding bills, and sponsoring local
informational booths targeted at both the U.S. and local national
Milica Ormiston, a recent GACO customer, said “I especially appreciate
competence and great customer service of the GACO staff. They are
truly helpful to our community. ”
During the summer months, some people receive information, when GACO
sets up a small booth at select locations. This “GACO on Tour” program
or participation at local events are a few activities GACO uses to
reach out to the community.
Twice a week GACO opens its doors to welcome newcomers who participate
in the USO newcomer’s orientation tours. This is a great way for them
to receive some basic information, ask questions, or meet the people
that can help in the future.
GACO is also popular with Germans, allowing them a convenient way to
reach out to the KMC. The base housing office started a small satellite
operation at GACO, which allows German landlords to interact with a
representative from housing 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Potential real estate is presented and rental issues involving
Americans are explained so more housing can be made available for
members of the KMC.
Germans also use GACO as a mediator for neighborhood problems.
Noise complaints and barking dogs make up the majority of the
inquiries. Often these issues are easily handled simply by
reminding the military member that they must abide by German
Though these misunderstandings are seldom, the GACO staff prefers
linking Germans with offices on base and friendship clubs in the area,
or providing information about living in the U.S.
For more information concerning host nation issues visit GACO on
Lauterstrasse 2, downtown Kaisers-lautern across from city hall. Hours
of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m.
to 6 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Customers can also
contact GACO at 0631-363-3010 or email@example.com.