www.wta.heinzleitsch.de - The U.S. Army in Wildflecken, 1951 - 1994

1234 Hilltop Herald 
April 29, 1994 

from page 1
the commander of the 7th Army Training Command, Brig. Gen. Charles H. Baumann, former Wildflecken Training Area commander, Col. Thomas O. Plant, former Wildflecken community commanders, Henry O. Johnson and Robert L. Holland, former deputy community commander, Randall Jackson, German government officials, Bundeswehr military personnel, post employees, family members and local citizens. Three individuals were given The Department of the Army Commander's Award by Brig. Gen. Baumann for their public service and long standing support and friendship to the Americans in Wildflecken. Mayor of Wildflecken Walter Gutmann, mayor of Bad Brückenau Hans Rohrmueller, and former mayor of Bischofsheim Hans Repp were sited for their exemplary performance and devotion to peace and freedom, as well as being instrumental in bringing about an end to the Cold War by providing extraordinary support, a sense of purpose and dedicated participation in public activities that directly impacted on the welfare and combat readiness of numerous U.S., German and NATO soldiers living and training at Wildflecken. As a symbolic act to signify the 283d Base Support Battalion's inactivation, "Attention to Orders" was called and Ogilvie, along with the 100th Area Support Group Commander, Col. Gary Tobin and 283d BSB Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Rudd, neatly rolled and tied the battalion's colors, and cased them for retirement to the Department of the Army Military History Museum Division for safe keeping. The colors will be kept in a place of honor either permanently, or until such time as the battalion is called upon to reactivate for a new mission. The battalion's inactivation also brought with it an end of the American presence in Wildflecken. "We have another victory celebration for winning the Cold War," Ogilvie said during his farewell speech. "A battle won through the hard work and training of all our predecessors who stood the vigil for peace, freedom and right. Yes, it was a long battle, a battle that we thought would never end this way, but made even sweeter by the fact that we didn't have to fire a single shot." Ogilvie spoke of his excitement when he was first told he was selected for command and compared his 21 months as the 283d BSB commander to crossing the "line of departure" every time he walked over the threshold of his quarters each rnorning. "Now we are engaged in consolidation and reorganization after seizing the objective," Ogilvie said. "We are dismantling this organization to reconstitute other organizations. On the 15th of June we will say, 'mission accomplished, Sir,' and move on to another organization to accomplish yet another mission." Ogilvie thanked the people who had contributed to his successful command: the soldiers of the BSB, the civilians both U.S. and local national, fellow BSB commanders, the supportive ASG staff, the "great group" of Burgermeisters and other elected officials, with special acknowledgment given to Burgermeister Walter Gutmann, ASG commanders, Col. James Snodgrass and Col. Gary Tobin and two "super" commanding generals, Brig. Gen. Montgomery Meiggs and Brig. Gen. Charles Baumann.
Then, with his voice quivering, Ogilvie also thanked his wife Ruth for sharing this command with him and for her never- ending support, and daughter Kristina and son Erik for sharing their


"dad" with all the other families in the neighborhood. "Thanks, guys," Ogilvie said. "I love you."
Taking the podium, the 100th ASG commander, Col. Gary Tobin, spoke of national resolve and the irony of victory. But first he praised the ecumenical service for giving religious tribute to the day's event and acknowledged Burgermeister Walter Gutmann for his musical performance during the service.
"I've never been so moved, Herr Burgermeister," Tobin said. "I've never been so moved by words because words only scratch at the surface. And the symbolism of what's happening today should not be lost on us. The irony of victory, the irony of success, and the sadness of good-bye. Sweet irony." Tobin said that the German and American flags standing bei'ore them represented a partnership: national resolve, nations' wealth, life blood, forbearance, and the sweat and tears involved in sweet victory. "Together with our partner in NATO, the Federal Republic of Germany, the symbolism of victory is evident," he said. "It is what has precipitated what is occurring today. Sweet irony." After acknowledging the people involved in the team work effort in the mission of closing one of the U.S. Army's major training areas, to include the former Wildflecken Training Area commander, Col. Thomas O. Plant, Tobin looked towards the outgoing and last 283d BSB commander and said, "Vince, mission complete."
Concluding, Tobin thanked the Germans for being such "gracious hosts" for over 49 years, and stated that the German - American partnership will not dissolve with the casing of the base support battalion's colors. "The victory: After June 15, the red, white and blue will no longer be unfurled on Wildflecken, but the colors of our proud partner nation in NATO will be," Tobin said. "The good news."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the USAREUR Band played the Army song then led the crowd in a procession down Main Street towards the flag pole for the dedication of the German/ American friendship memorial.

 As a "thank you" to the Americans and the U.S. Army, the local national employees from the Wildflecken post unveiled an engraved stone monument during a dedication ceremony. The 10 - ton, 15 - feet - tall stone was given a permanent place ofhonor at the flag pole island. The Directorate of Engineering and Housing's mason shop chiseled a picture of a handshake on the front, which was directed and created by forman Emil Schrenk with assistance by Marcel Annon. Above the handshake a plaque reads: "In remembrance of the long - lasting, good - working relationship with our


American friends, 1953 - 1994, the German Workforce."
The monument began as an idea by the DEH Chief of Work Coordination, Bruno Kleinheinz, and the Wildflecken Training Area Chief of Training Support Branch, Richard Boehm. The monument is to remind everyone of the long - standing cooperation and relationship between Americans and Germans during the past 50 years.
"We wanted to do something different," Kleinheinz said. "We wanted to have something for the future so everybody can remember the way things were. What happened (the post closure) - we have to live with it. And it's still nice to do something for the Army, now."
"I am standing here today with a laughing eye and a crying eye," Works Council President Norbert Fiedler said during the dedication ceremony. "Even though the time has come for us to say good - bye to our American friends, this farewell also means a chance for a new start. If one wants to go to new places, the old ones have to be left first.
" Addressing his fellow colleagues, Fiedler said that they together have experienced the years of the Cold War and mastered critical years together. "This region blossomed with our military community," he said. "And all of you have contributed to this."
Fiedler also gave his thanks to the Americans. "At the end of an era and at the end of such a long way stands the gratitude to you, dear Americans, which comes from all of our hearts," he said. "After all those years of cooperation I thank you on behalf of all German civilian employees for the trust and friendship given to us."


The Mayor of Wildflecken, Burgermeister "Pitzi" Gutmann desired to have a final farewell fest in conjunction with the 283d BSB inactivation ceremony to allow the local townspeople of Wildflecken and surrounding communities to have an opportunity to individually say good - bye to Americans before they leave.
Banquet tables, decorations and a stage were set, transforming a former motor pool, building #405, for the event. Musical entertainment, folk dance demonstrations and refreshments also contributed to the festive atmosphere.
At the beginning of the fest, Gutmann, along with the commander of Panzerartillery Battalion 355, Lt. Col. Michael Mueller, officially ended the sponsorship they had originally made in 1987 with community commander Col. Jerod Lemoine and the Wildflecken Military Community, and said good - bye to Lt. Col. Vicente C. Ogilvie, the first and last commander of the 283d BSB and the last unit commander of Wildflecken.


Monument Dedication





Posing for television crews and photographers after the Monurnent Dedication Ceremony from left are: the former and last Wildflecken Training Area Comtnander, Col. Thomas O. Plant, 100th ASG Commander, Col. Gary Tobin, Training Saapport Branch Chief Richard Boehm, DEH Mason Shop Forman and artist Emil Schrenk, Works Council President Norman Fiedler, Commander of the 7th Army Training Command, Brig. Gen. Charles H. Baumann, Wildflecken Burgermeister Walter Gutmann, and outgoing 283d Base Support Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Vicente C. Ogilvie.