Ramstein: It’s your home, take pride in it

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Taking care of the base is important for the well-being of everyone who lives, works and visits here.

“Ramstein is the same as our house. We want people to see it looking good and show that we have pride in Team Ramstein,” said Staff Sgt. Anitrea Bryan, 86th Airlift Wing knowledge operation manager and facility manager.

One way for everyone on base to help is participating in the annual spring clean-up April 26.

Spring clean-up is for all military and civilians living and working on Ramstein to come together and clean everywhere on base. This is an older base and has a lot of history. It’s important for everyone to take care of not only its future, but its fascinating past.

Rheinland-Pfalz and the surrounding area have been around for years and taking care of the base ensures it’s stability for future generations.

“Airmen walking through Ramstein may not be aware of it, but ancient German settlers, Romans and other medieval societies walked the same pathways and hunted in the forests of Ramstein,” said Bill Harris, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa history, museums and art programs director. “From a (philosophical) point of view the base is a living, breathing artifact.”

Ramstein, built in 1952, was designed by French engineers, built by Germans and operated by Americans. More than 200,000 U.S. and NATO personnel have been assigned to Ramstein since it opened.

“Since 1953, chaplains and local clergy have celebrated more than 6,000 marriages between American service personnel and host nation,” Harris said. “That means that some of America’s younger Airmen assigned to Ramstein may be the fourth generation of returnees to this great area known as Rheinland-Pfalz.”

In 1953, the only places to eat here were the NCO Club, Officers’ Club, Airmen’s Club and local eating establishments.

Fast-food restaurants did not materialize until 1986.

“Airmen today would not recognize Ramstein of the 1950s,” said Harris. “In the mid-1950s the main form of transportation was a bicycle, bus or walking. Today most of the cars on Ramstein contain one person and bikes are few. However, what hasn’t changed is how the local communities have melded with Ramstein’s and their association has produced life-long friendships on both sides of the Atlantic.”

With this base being home to military members and their families, it is important that its tenants take care of where they work and live.

“We need to be sure to maintain our Air Force standards and keep the base clean. A clean base projects a professional military image and lines up with our core values,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Peterson, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant flight chief of operations support.

The thought of keeping the base tidy is something that should be done consistently by everyone who lives, works or visits here.

“The fact that this area changed hands between Germany and France on several occasions attests to the area’s prominence and strategic value,” said Harris. “Airmen should take time to practice mindfulness as they stroll from one area to another and remind themselves that they are but temporary visitors on an already ancient landscape.”