KMC hosts Mayors’ Forum

Story and photo by Senior Airman Stephen J. Otero
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. military and host nation officials met during the KMC’s semiannual Mayors’ Forum Feb. 29 at the rathaus in Bruchmühlbach-Miesau.

The forum provides U.S. military and host nation officials the opportunity to exchange information and express concerns in an informal setting.

Many people attended, including seven local mayors; the Kaiserslautern deputy county commissioner; a representative of the Police Headquarters Western Palatinate; and U.S. military officials from U.S. Air Forces in Europe, the 86th Airlift Wing, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern and Installation Management Command Europe.

Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th Airlift Wing commander, chaired the afternoon forum representing the KMC commander Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc. He presented an overview of the KMC’s installations, command structure and how various services were shared between the Army and Air Force.

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to meet and discuss how to work together as a team to provide the best quality of life for everyone in the KMC,” Hyde said.

A primary discussion during this forum focused on plans for the future KMC Medical Center that is intended to replace Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  The new facility will serve as a centralized medical care facility for U.S. service members and family members throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

According to officials from Installation Management Command-Europe, the Department of Defense has allocated approximately $750 million toward construction of the hospital, which will be located in Weilerbach, just east of Ramstein.

“The relocation of the hospital from Landstuhl to Weilerbach is a done deal,” said Weilerbach mayor Anja Pfeiffer. “The construction at the former ammunition depot is scheduled to begin no later than March 2013 and completion is expected in September 2019.”

The new hospital complex will have the added benefit of being closer to Ramstein and providing safer, more efficient transport for wounded warriors.

Another topic discussed during the forum was the availability of both on- and off-base housing.

Col. Douglas Hammer, 86th Civil Engineer Group commander, briefed the forum about housing availability in the KMC.

“The empty off-base housing rate is only 0.5 percent, which means that while there is enough to go around, it takes military personnel longer to acquire a domicile, especially during the big ‘moving season’ in the summer,” Hammer said.

All members of the forum agreed that information sharing within the group is essential to community planning and fosters good relations between the U.S. and German government.

The forum concluded with Hyde presenting a coin to Mayor Werner Holz of Bruchmühlbach-Miesau as a token of appreciation for hosting the forum in his union community administration.