Nicole Steingaß, Rhein-land-Pfalz state secretary, visited Ramstein Air Base Nov. 20. Accompanying Steingaß were Carsten Göller, state coordinator for military affairs, and Udo Rzany, military affairs administrator.
U.S. military installations in Germany, including Ramstein, adhere to German law. Many German officials operate on Ramstein, such as the veterinarians and federal police at the 721st Aerial Port Squadron Passenger Terminal and the Sicherheitswache (German Polizei liaison) operating alongside the 86th Security Forces Squadron. As state secretary, Steingaß coordinates between the Rheinland-Pfalz officials and U.S. forces.
Steingaß requested the visit, her first to Ramstein, to learn about the base firsthand and familiarize herself with some of Ramstein’s people, operations and capabilities.
“For the partnership between the Rheinland-Pfalz region and the U.S. military, it’s important for me to come here and see things with my own eyes,” Steingaß said. “It’s always different if you get a personal impression of things rather than just hear about it.”
Steingaß met with Ramstein senior leadership, including Col. Brian Filler, U.S. Air Forces in Europe — Air Forces Africa deputy chief of staff, and Col. Robert Thompson, 86th Mission Support Group commander. Scott Lockard, 86th Airlift Wing vice director, guided Steingaß and accompanying officials on a tour through several stops on Ramstein, including a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, the 721st APS Passenger Terminal, and the Sicherheitswache.
“I’m very impressed by what the base has to offer — by the infrastructure and by everything I’ve seen,” Steingaß said. “In addition, I’m very happy about receiving a warm welcome. Everyone was waiting with open arms.”
There are many areas in the Rheinland-Pfalz where Germany and the U.S. military work together, and that’s why it’s important to have a good, strong partnership, whether that be in infrastructure, logistics, or elsewhere, Steingaß said.
One way the Rhineland- Palatinate helps U.S. Forces is through the Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz Program, established by Roger Lewentz, minister of the interior and sports. The program is intended to help U.S. service members and their families integrate into German communities.
The German-American Community Office is an official partner to the Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz Program. The GACO, located in the city of Kaiserslautern, provides important personal assistance for a smoother transition for military members and their dependents. They provide personal support and guidance on topics related to living and thriving in Germany. Topics include recycling regulations, driving laws, resident permits and international driver’s licensing. They also help establish contact to German-American friendship clubs, sports associations, special interest items, and other German institutions.