Ramstein honors retirees, takes requirements to them

by Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

More than 80 retirees from the KMC received special treatment Oct. 28 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.

The Retiree Appreciation Day breakfast was more than just bacon and
scrambled eggs; it put 20 different agencies in one location to make a literal, one-stop shop for the retirees.

“It’s just our way of giving back to the retirees for how long they have served,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Petersen, 76th Airlift Squadron communication systems operator and primary coordinator for the event. “We did all the work for them and brought all these different tables together. Everything they need is here — immunizations, the pharmacy, an eye station and even (Defense Finance and Accounting Services).”

Aside from the array of different departments that came to show their support for the retirees, a host of chief master sergeants and commanders from Ramstein came out and spoke to the retirees on the importance of serving and putting in their time in the armed services.

“The accomplishments that (they) made, the relationships that (they) built — we are standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Col. Bill Ward, 86th Operations Group commander. “We’ve gone further down the road than we ever could have and it’s because of your service.”

The KMC area has approximately 1,300 retirees. Each year, attendance at the breakfast steadily continues to grow.

“When I first came here five years ago, there was nothing going on for retirees,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Max Pfauntsch, the original organizer for the event.
Pfauntsch worked on a plan, he talked to base leadership and got the ball rolling on the first Retiree Appreciation Day event.

“I felt that something needed to be done (and) the support was tremendous,” said the 84-year-old Vietnam veteran. “I am privileged to have been not only the initiator, but to partake in each of these events.”

In his 33 years he gave to the Air Force, Pfauntsch said he feels he still owes the Air Force a debt of gratitude for the great experiences he had as an Airman.
Since retirement, he has worked with the American Red Cross for 12 years and currently works at the Ramstein Community Center, teaching Airmen of all ages to speak German.

“The military has been superb to us,” he said, speaking of Nora Pfauntsch, his wife of more than 50 years. “They have given my family a home and allowed me to provide for my family. I have no regrets at all.”