German state minister visits Army garrison in Baumholder

Rheinland-Pfalz Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz talks to a group of people gathered for his visit to Baumholder Military Community Aug. 13.

A meeting with the new garrison commander and an update on what’s happening on Baumholder, a critical joint military installation, brought one of Rheinland-Pfalz’s most prominent officials for a visit Aug. 13.

German State of Rheinland-Pfalz Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz visited the Baumholder Military Community, a site belonging to U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz. His two-hour visit to Smith Barracks included a one-on-one meeting with U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander Col. Vance J. Klosinski, and a look at select Baumholder facilities.

“It is great to be back at Baumholder again,” the minister said as he greeted the garrison commander. Much like the federal interior minister, Lewentz is responsible for “internal security and the protection of the constitutional order, for civil protection against disasters and terrorism, displaced persons, administrative questions, and sports.”

“Our visit with the minister allowed us to showcase what is happening at Baumholder and discuss key issues with one of our most prominent host-nation partners,” Klosinski said. “It is a pleasure to host the minister and his team and show them how the Army continues to be linked so closely with the community, the German military, and our NATO partners.”

After a pair of one-on-one meetings, Klosinski and Baumholder Deputy Garrison Manager Jim Bradford provided Lewentz a windshield tour of Smith Barracks, updating him on previous discussions and new projects, including the near-completion of a $2 million renovation to the Rheinlander Club.

Showcasing a newly remodeled junior officer home was included among the updates. Army housing officials provided a tour of the renovated home as well as an overview of future work.

Col. Vance J. Klosinski (right) talks with Rheinland-Pfalz Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz during a visit to Baumholder Military Community Aug. 13.

“About $300 million in housing projects are scheduled for the next six to eight years in the Baumholder Military Community,” said the garrison Director of Public Works Gregory A. Williams.

The minister also received a tour of the Baumholder USO building and the “Warrior Zone.” The Warrior Zone is a recreational facility managed by MWR and the local “Better Opportunities for Single Servicemembers” chapter.

Specialist Christopher Stocum, BOSS president, briefed the minister. He discussed the myriad of ongoing volunteer efforts in the Baumholder community, including a recent blood drive and upcoming activities for more than 400 BOSS members. Stocum also explained to the minister how a 2019 holiday event called Operation Cheer has kept him linked and brought him closer to a local German family.

After the tour, the minister and the commander exchanged mementos and each thanked the other for the visit.

“This is a good sign for the future of Baumholder,” Lewentz said.