Story and photos by
Senior Airman Sara Voigt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Ramstein Community Center held their monthly Spouses Tour April 23 on Ramstein Air Base. The Community Center Spouses Tour is an ongoing event that strives to educate Ramstein newcomers on base facility resources and opportunities when they PCS to Germany.
Leaving home can become a familiar feeling for military members and their dependents. Oftentimes, families get settled at a new base only to end up getting orders somewhere else. Moving overseas can be a beast, but service members and their families have multiple agencies here to help tame the transition to an overseas station.
One of the biggest concerns for families when they move to a new base is knowing where different base facilities are located. Ramstein offers a variety of resources to military personnel, DoD civilians, and their dependents, to help them navigate their way throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community. One resource that the base offers is the Ramstein Community Center’s Spouses Tour.
“The purpose of our tour is to reach out to anyone who is new to the KMC area and to connect them to local resources and activities, on and off base,” said Susanne Cruz, 86th Force Support Squadron Community Center Event Planner and tour guide. “We aim to reach anyone who is new to the area or even those who have been here a while but feel they do not know much about it.”
The spouses tour gives Ramstein newcomers and spouses a guided look around base and off base to include downtown Kaiserslautern.
“We first meet at the Ramstein Community Center for a 30-minute briefing where such entities as the base library, Airman & Family Readiness Center, and Non-Appropriated Funds Human Resources representatives are present,” said Cruz. “Then we get on a small bus and tour FSS facilities on base: Outdoor Recreation, Aquatic Center, Arts & Crafts. We also point out other facilities as we drive past, such as the clubs, Gear Up and Moms, the fitness centers etc.”
After taking a look at on base facilities, the spouses tour heads to Kaiserslautern to visit the German American Community Office where tour members receive handouts, flyers and information on the local community. This part of the tour serves as a great integration piece on getting acquainted with German customs and cultures.
From the GACO, tour members walk to the center of Kaiserslautern to have lunch in order to experience traditional German food and gain knowledge on restaurant dining etiquette in Germany.
“Having local national employees at the Ramstein Community Center, we are uniquely positioned to give our customers a tour with in-depth knowledge of the area and personal experience to share,” said Cruz.
Cruz, a German National who moved to the U.S. after becoming a military spouse, is passionate about the tour, and strives to make sure that everyone who attends her tour feels a “little bit more at home” afterwards.
“I get to share a bit of my experience of having been a military spouse and lived [living] in a foreign country, so I can empathize with our customers’ situation of being ‘a stranger in a strange land,’” said Cruz. “I make it my goal to leave our customers with the impression that Germany isn’t so ‘strange’ after all.”
The spouses tour is held every fourth Tuesday of the month. You can call the Ramstein Community Center at DSN: 480-6600 or commercial: 4906371-47-6600 to sign up.