The Citizen - November 2019

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Vol. 48, No. 13, November 2019

Serving the Greater Stuttgart Military Community

Photo by Michele Wiencek, Training Support Center Stuttgart

Boxtoberfest knocks ‘em out! Fighters duke it out during the USAG Stuttgart Oktoberfest Boxing Championships at the Panzer Fitness Center, Oct. 19. More than a boxing championship, it also had an Oktoberfest theme with music, games, brats and beverages. The 2019 event marks the second time the garrison hosted this sporting event. Read about the action on p.15.

Gas pumps at Patch to temporarily close for repairs By Rick Scavetta USAG Stuttgart

Improvements at the Patch Express gas station mean the pumps will close for several weeks, as construction workers dig down to underground tanks. Work begins Nov. 11. Community members should use the Kelley Barracks gas station or off-post Esso stations during this time frame. “It’s a fairly new development,” said Col. Jason Condrey, commander, USAG Stuttgart, during his weekly AFN Stuttgart radio interview. “The pumps will be down, starting in midNovember, hopefully for only five to six weeks. That’s going to have an impact on people.” The Patch Express will remain open, albeit with reduced hours, said Michael Ryan, general manager of the EUCOM Consolidated Exchange. The parking lot and one lane in front the Patch Express will also be open. “Customers can also load their Esso cards at the Patch Express, so that they can be used at off post Esso’s,” Ryan said.

The nearest Esso stations from Patch Barracks is at Hauptstraße 136 in Vaihingen. Other Esso stations are located through Stuttgart, Leonberg, Sindelfingen and Waldenbuch. New pumps were recently installed at the Patch Express. Some months earlier, however, the German Technischer Überwachungsverein, or TÜV, inspected the Patch gas station and outlined safety repairs required to continue operation, said Jim Byrnes, from the garrison’s public works directorate. “It’s primarily a safety concern,” Byrnes said, adding that environmental impacts were not the main focus of the TÜV inspection. “We’re lucky to have found a specialty contractor, here, in the general Stuttgart region to do the job now.” Workers digging with heavy equipment will expose the tanks, remove fuel, excavate dirt and check for any contaminated soil. Once done, some parts will be replaced and upgraded before the area is restored to its original state. “We want it be a safe fueling station,” Byrnes said. “These inspections happen in the U.S. too. Gas stations go down when there are findings.”

The upcoming time frame is the only time when these contractors are available. With winter setting in, they would have to delay the work due to weather and frozen ground. Delaying the work further could mean the gas station being shut down for even longer, if the German government doesn’t see progress being made. While the pumps are shut, customers who normally use the Patch gas

station may have to plan ahead, said Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia, the garrison’s senior enlisted leader. “Military members should be mindful of current off-post uniform policy, to plan for civilian clothes while fueling on the economy and sponsors should inform newcomers of the change, as most people picking up recently shipped cars at Panzer Kaserne tend to top off at Patch,” Tia said.

Photo by USAG Stuttgart

Pumps at the Patch Express are scheduled to close, Nov. 11.


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The Citizen, November 2019

GC offers safety guidance for upcoming holidays available, such as public transportation, taxi or a designated driver. Drive defensively and adjust your speed to weather/ road conditions, keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Prepare your vehicle for winter weather driving conditions and observe the local laws, such as required winter or allseason tires.

By Col. Jason W. Condrey Commander, USAG Stuttgart

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and while this is a joyous time of year, we must remain focused on ensuring the safety and welfare of all our personnel and family members to remain accident-free. A new calendar signifies opportunity for imPedestrian safety provement and to include Wear bright-colored Condrey risk management into our and reflective clothing durdaily decision-making process both ing the hours of darkness. This apon and off duty. plies especially to children. Use Some of the season’s risks that re- recommended gear whenever it is quire special attention to reach our needed – even for quick tasks. Learn goal for a fatality-free and no-acci- how to maintain your protective gear dent holiday period are: so it will continue to protect you. Safety eyewear, gloves, and other protective equipment has proven its Prevention of vehicle accidents Do not drink and drive! There’s value countless times in preventing always alternate transportation serious injury.

Fire safety Never leave candles burning unattended. Use non-flammable decorations. Unattended cooking is a leading cause of house fires, so please remain alert. Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach. Holiday safety The use of fireworks is prohibited in all places under the control of the U.S. Army, to include on-post housing. Properly prepare and place your Christmas tree, its decoration and associated electrical equipment. Never use damaged or defective lights or extension cords. As a safety tip, extension cords and associated lighting should only be used temporarily and not plugged into the electrical receptacle for more than 30 days. Workplace safety Only non-flammable holiday decorations will be displayed in work areas and be arranged in such a way that does

not block access to fire exits, fire extinguishers and the view of exit signs. The use of open flame candles is prohibited. It is a challenge to stay focused at work during this time of year, so this is when it is especially important to take four seconds for safety. When you find yourself working distracted and your thoughts running wild with all the plans and activities of the holidays, STOP, take those four short seconds to look around and come back to the present moment. All of us are responsible for ensuring this holiday season is a safe and joyous time of the year. As we stress safety, it is important to enjoy the season and also to remember the sacrifices of our military forces and civilians deployed around the globe and their families at homes. The Command Team wishes you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and New Year. Please remain vigilant over the holidays – if you see something – say something!

Garrison online scheduler now using customer IDs By Rick Scavetta USAG Stuttgart

Protecting personal information is very important to U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. The garrison recently made changes to further minimize the amount of personal information collected to schedule appointments, said Bardia Khajenoori, an analyst with the Garrison Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. “Right now, our App has an appointments button,” Khajenoori said. “Newcomers, and those of us who have been here a while, use our App to schedule a variety of things: vehicle registration, hospital tours, host nation orientation, housing appointments, etc. Up until now, the scheduling service has asked for your full name.” Customers will now create a customer ID. “Users input the initial of their first

UNITED STATES ARMY GARRISON STUTTGART Commander Col. Jason W. Condrey Senior Enlisted Adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia Public Affairs Officer Larry Reilly Command Information Chief Rick Scavetta Editor John Reese

name, the initial of their last name and the last four numbers of their phone number,” said Col. Jason Condrey, commander, USAG Stuttgart. “For example, Jason Condrey would be JC1234.” Customers will enter this number into the customer ID fields and the form can be submitted. In fact, there’s a box that needs to be checked stating that the customer ID is used rather than a full name. There is space for a phone number, to receive a text – but this remains optional. The appointment instructions and forms have been updated to explain this. Our garrison services that use the appointment scheduler have also been briefed, so they will expect to see people using these new customer IDs. “This is a recent change, so we ask for your patience and cooperation as we make this transition to further protect personal information,” Condrey said.

Contributors Angelika Aguilar Paul Hughes

Web: Facebook: USAGarrisonStuttgart/



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The Citizen, November 2019


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Hundreds participate in 5k, fest, Halloween fun Story and photos by John Reese USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Spectators on Patch Barracks shouted encouragement, especially for children and parents pushing strollers, as they made the final dash in the Great Pumpkin 5k fun run, Oct. 26. Children played games, rode ponies and listened to a story read by the garrison’s senior noncommissioned officer at the Harvest Fest, as costumed children went trunk or treating along a row of vehicles parked outside of the Patch Fitness Center. Runners couldn’t have asked for better weather, especially compared to the freezing temperatures and slippery conditions of last year. This time, the temperature was warm enough for short sleeves while cool enough for comfortable running, with only a few high clouds under a bright sun. Some of the runners wore costumes or masks, and one teenager wearing a large cowbell as he jogged. A generous number of dogs, and babies in carriages, enjoyed the fun run. “This is an untimed fun run, so we’re not tracking winners or times for participants,” said Anne-Marie Harcrow, fitness coordinator, USAG Stuttgart Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “We won’t have a record of who finishes first.” The 5k was supported by volunteers from the American Red Cross, Stuttgart Station, who offered assistance for cuts, bruises, insect stings and dehydrated runners. Stuttgart High School senior and cross-country runner Jack Montoya, 17, crossed the finish line second with a time of 17:10, regaining his breath after sprinting to catch the first guy across the finish line. “This guy–I don’t know who he was–caught me on the third corner to the fourth kilometer,” Montoya said. “I tried to catch him, but he was a little too far ahead.” The fastest runner didn’t even pause after crossing the finish line; instead, he continued on for another 5k lap. A dog named Delta, tugging along her human, Krystle Mize, was the first canine across the line.

The garrison’s senior noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia, reads “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” for a large audience of young children after he ran the 5k.

Following the run, the MWR team rapidly broke down the setup of support tables, sound system, timer clock and big inflatable start/finish arch. Their work was done so quickly and efficiently that most participants didn’t notice, only that suddenly they vanished with all traces. “We have a really solid team out here,” Harcrow said. “Everyone in Sports & Fitness deserves a shout-out. We do work some really long hours for events, and there’s really no one else I'd rather work with than the team that we have. We get along very well; we help each other out. I enjoy that a lot.” Anchoring one end of the trunk or treat were garrison BOSS members. “BOSS is here helping out, giving back to our community as we like to do, with trunk or treat,” said BOSS president Staff Sgt. Cassandra Gonzales. “We are passing out candy to all of the children who come to our vehicle.” The Harvest Fest was held in the parking lot of the Stuttgart Youth Center, better known as The Hub, had multiple games, sidewalk chalk, a bouncy house and the most popular attraction, pony rides or the little ones. As part of the fest, Army Community Services had a health and wellnessthemed table. “We set up the pumpkin painting for the kids,” said ACS coordinator Basil Forrest. “My youngest is 21, so for me, this is fun.” School liaison officer Joe Holder used a bullhorn to summon a youthful

Mermaid and SHS junior Ellie Donohew, 16, as seen from her ocean-themed trunk, said “The turnout is really nice. A lot of kids seem to be okay seeing someone in a costume they can just interact with.”

Amela Huidekoper, MWR Health & Wellness, uses models of muscle and fat to illustrate what bodies are made from.

audience to hear Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia, battle buddy to the garrison commander, read “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” to a large audience of children. “The reading by Command Sgt. Maj. Tia was sponsored by the School Liaison Office’s Resiliency Through Reading program,” Holder said, adding that every child in attendance received a copy of the book. Tia, who completed the 5k, didn’t just read the book; he also acted out some of the story for the very young audience. The children were attentive and focused, responding as he interacted with them. The next big Sports & Fitness event will be the annual Army-Navy football game, this year being held on the new field on Panzer Kaserne. “For the Army-Navy game, we’ll have some cool stadium gifts for the first 100 fans,” Harcrow said.

Dara Warnack, age 5, strikes a heroic pose as The Miraculous Ladybug, a French cartoon superhero.

Prior to the Great Pumpkin 5k, 315 runners gather at the starting line prior to the run. Some wore costumes or masks, including toddlers in carriages.

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The Citizen, November 2019

ask a jag

The Citizen, November 2019

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Ask a JAG: How German law protects people from defamation By Sgt. David A. McDonald Client Services Stuttgart Law Center

Some of our clients wonder if it is true that in Germany you cannot say or publish untrue information that could negatively affect a person’s or entity’s reputation. The answer is yes. You need to know that Germany’s defamation laws are amongst the most draconian in Europe. Defamation, libel, slander and insults regularly constitute a criminal offense according to German criminal law. The law of Libel and Slander is governed by sections 185 to 200 of the German Criminal Code.

The law protecting people against insults (section 185 German Criminal Code) has remained practically unchanged since the mid-1800s. It reads: “An insult shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine and, if the insult is committed by means of an assault, with imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine.” In 2018, there were 220,291 cases of insults filed with prosecutors in Germany, up 1.8 percent from the 216,313 cases filed in 2017. Normally, people don’t get jailed for flashing the middle finger, “Stinkefinger,” or stinky finger, at

someone else, but some cases do end up in court and fines will be handed down. For instance, insulting someone as a “dumb goat” can cost you €200, the minimum penalty, while flipping the bird might set you back by €750, and calling a police officer a “half-wit in uniform” cost someone €1,500. The law also extends to insults that are made online as well. German authorities have the right to obtain data from providers about the person who made the comment in order to prosecute them if the comment violates the law.

Name Calling

Please be aware that not only words can constitute an insult. In 2016, an employee called his supervisor a “fat pig” and used the pig emoji instead of writing the word. This also constituted an insult punishable by section 185 of the German Criminal Code on top of nearly costing him his job. However, there is one more thing. While it seems to be the norm – at least on US news channels – to make deliberate use of the word Nazi, please refrain from doing so in Germany. Calling someone a Nazi or something similar is a very grave insult and is a sure way of making the acquaintance of the German legal system.

Taking care of our own: Operation Angel Tree Army Community Service USAG Stuttgart

The 2019 holiday season approaches. As much as it can bring joy, this time of year can also bring stress to families, especially if they are experiencing financial hardship. Operation Angel Tree gives the USAG Stuttgart military community an opportunity to highlight “I’m glad I live here” by lending a helping hand to those families needing assistance in providing gifts for their children. During November and into the first week of December, units, tenants and private organizations can

nominate deserving garrison children of junior enlisted families E1-E5 and civilian grades GS-6 or NAF equivalent or below for Operation Angel Tree. Exceptions to eligibility are made on a case-by-case basis. Nomination forms can be obtained from unit or organizational representatives, Army Community Service, and the FMWR website. A supervisor or command team designee will need to sign-off on the nomination before submission. At 1 p.m. on Nov. 21, the kick-off for the Angel Tree will be held in the Panzer Exchange mall. The tree will be displayed through Dec. 13; during this time, sponsors may select angels

display cards noting age, size, and wishes from the tree and purchase gifts for them. Wrapped gifts need to be turned in at ACS or at the Exchange customer service area by the close of business on Dec. 13. Unit POC’s are asked to pick up gifts for their receiving families at ACS, Dec. 18–19. Gifts should be distributed to the families in time for their holiday celebration. This is a great opportunity to take care of our own. In 2018, the USAG Stuttgart military community provided gifts for 109 children. For more information, call 5963362 or 09641-70-596-3362.

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A young community member selects a paper angel from the 2018 Angel Tree, located inside the mall just outside the entrance of the Panzer Exchange.

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Send your announcements for upcoming events to the USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office Take your shot Walk in to the Army Health Clinic, Patch Barracks, weekdays, 7:30–11:30 a.m. and from 1–3:30 p.m. to get your influenza vaccination. The clinic is closed 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month and no influenza walk-in will occur. You can also attend the remaining Saturday vaccination clinic, Nov. 23.

and easy experience. Join the USO’s German instructor as she takes you to several shops in Vaihingen to purchase goods like a local, Nov. 15. You’ll visit a florist, grocery store and other shops in and near the Schwaben Galerie, and conclude at a local bakery café. Sign up to attend through the link found on USO’s Facebook page or website, then meet at 9 a.m. at the Patch Barracks main gate. Babies in arms only, please. Thank a vet The garrison will observe Veterans Day in the Patch Barracks chapel, 11 a.m., Nov. 11. The observance is open to the entire Stuttgart military community. As of press time, the Stuttgart High School JROTC color guard and local chapters of veterans groups have been asked to participate. Shop ‘til you drop Shopping on the economy in Germany can be a fun

Self elf On Saturday, Nov. 16, catch the family-friendly matinee movie, “Elf,” at the USO Center on Panzer Kaserne. The afternoon includes snacks, crafts and games, and for the movie, wear your comfy clothes and bring your blankets and pillows! The fun starts at 2:30 p.m. Sign up to attend through the link found on USO’s Facebook page or website.

The Citizen, November 2019

Spende Blut The Stuttgart American Red Cross is partnering with the Armed Services Blood Program for a blood drive. Blood will be collected at Panzer Fitness Center, Nov. 19, and at Patch Community Club, Nov. 20, both days 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you're unsure if you're eligible to give blood, check out the American Red Cross, Stuttgart Station's Facebook page for the guidelines. Want to make a difference? Donate blood! One more 2019 ASIST The final two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshop of 2019

will take place at the Swabian Special Events Center, Patch Barracks, Nov. 26-27. The workshop is for anyone desiring to learn suicide “first-aid” by learning how to: recognize opportunities for help; reach out and offer support; develop a safety plan that neutralizes risks; apply the “Pathway for Assisting Life;” and link people with community resources. The workshop is for all Gatekeepers (chaplains and chaplain assistants, MPs, ASAP counselors, JAG, Family Advocacy Program workers, Inspectors General, AER counselors, DoDEA school counselors, emergency room medical technicians, Red Cross workers, and medical/dental health professionals). There is no charge to attend the workshop. Civilian attire, no uniforms. Call 431-2699/2865 to register.

Original dining “The Originals” dining facility on Panzer Kaserne advises the community about its upcoming training and holiday closures through the end of the year: Nov. 8-11, Nov. 28-29, Dec. 24-25, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1, 2020. As this issue of the Citizen hits the newsstands, the DFAC is closed for culinary skills validation and will reopen Nov. 12.

travel and events for American Families

Turkey Day dining There are two separate Thanksgiving meals being served at the DFAC. The first is a special feast prepared by the Originals’ culinary team, where they pull out all the stops for a memorable holiday meal served by officers and senior NCOs in dress uniform, Tuesday, Nov. 26. This is truly the most epic meal of the year prepared by the Originals. The second one is hosted by the USO on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, noon-2 p.m. Both meals are very popular and registration is required for the USO meal – a registration link will be available starting Nov. 12.

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The Citizen, November 2019 Last housing town hall of 2019 is at Kelley Barracks The garrison has one remaining town hall this year at the Kelley Theater, Dec. 11, to address concerns regarding housing and other issues.. After that, the next housing town hall is scheduled in the Patch Chapel, March 26,

2020. Watch this space and online for updates. One-on-one training Instead of you coming to the USAG Stuttgart Fire Department, firefighters will now come to you and your building for evacuation coordinator training on • • • • •

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a one-on-one basis. These classes are mandatory in accordance with AR420-1. They’ll try to accommodate your schedule instead you having to accommodate theirs. Register per email at mil.

advises there’ll be reduced service or no USAEUR driver classes on the following days due to German or American holidays: Nov. 11 and 28; Dec. 23–Jan. 1, and Jan. 6. Call ahead or visit the office in Bldg. 2913, Panzer Kaserne.

Bus-less holidays ahead The garrison duty buses will not be operating on these upcoming days: • Thanksgiving, Nov. 28 • Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 • Christmas Day, Dec. 25 • New Year's Day, Jan. 1 Buses will also not operate on Memorial Day 2020.

Read a book from afar One of the most difficult things a child can experience is having a parent separated from them for an indeterminate period of time. Recognizing the challenges military families often face

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when dealing with separation, the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program makes it possible for service members and military kids to share story time with someone they love. Participants select a book to record for their special loved one and story time is available virtually on demand. Stop by the USO Stuttgart during normal operating hours to record yourself reading to your loved ones back home, then the USO team will package up the recording and the book, then send the recording and book to that special loved one, helping bring families together no matter the miles that may separate them. Makes a great holiday surprise. Email for more information. Capital suggestion With the Capital City Visitation Program, participants will learn about the German political system during a visit to the State Parliament in downtown Stuttgart. History buffs will hear about the Speech of Hope and the importance of the American presence in the Stuttgart area. The tour also visits city hall and other landmarks in the downtown area. A traditional Swabian lunch is included in the tour. The remaining tour this year is Dec. 3. It’s free and open to all ID card holders 14 years and older. Participants are picked up at 8:30 a.m. at the Panzer Exchange bus stop. The tour lasts until 5 p.m. Dress is business casual and good walking shoes. Call 5963463 or search CCVP online at www.stuttgartcitizen. com.

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The Citizen, November 2019

How to buy fresh flowers, vegetables, on the honor system Story and photos by Angelika Aguilar USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

In the spring and fall, you see beautiful seasonal flowers for picking from their fields or pumpkins stacked on a roadside wagon without a merchant selling them. You can’t miss the many agricultural fields in local neighborhoods as you drive by them. Signs tell customers: Blumen zum selber schneiden, which translates to cut your own flowers, along with information about the individual price of each flower. The same goes for pumpkins that are usually harvested elsewhere and brought to the same roadside field where you’ll find the flowers. Occupying a cashier's desk in a field where someone sits all day long would not be profitable or reasonable. Buying flowers, pumpkins and whatever else the farmer offers

works via the honor system–money is dropped into a box labeled “Kasse” next to it; there is no checkout salesperson. Farmers, therefore, are very glad to have many honest customers. Most of the time the honor system works. However, with some customers, this is a problem and you may see another sign next to it saying: Nur bezahlte Blumen bringen Freude, or only paid flowers make you happy. Local farmers offer their customers a wide range of products throughout the year. The products are fresh, and compared to the costs at a regular flower shop or grocery store, rather low. For example: 50 cents for a sunflower, 70 cents for a gladiola or other flowers. The farmers don’t get rich with these amounts. Nevertheless, the self-service fields are an interesting niche for local farmers. Many of them are

Green Acres Check out your local farmer’s field. If you don’t know of one near you, drive south from Panzer Kaserne toward Schoenaich/Steinenbronn. Farmer Brodbeck offers flowers and pumpkins. Driving toward Waldenbuch, Farmer Mueller offers sunflowers. Another local farm, called “Frank Farm” at Stuttgart-Moehringen, Dorfplatz, offers plenty of sweet corn and selected organic products.

As Stuttgart area residents travel between home and office, they’re bound to see one of the many honor system roadside fields offering pick your own veggies and flowers.

forced to create a second foothold due to the fall in agricultural prices. However, many don’t want to go that far and consider it more of an extra and run the fields mainly for the joy of the flowers and fruits they can pass on. They enjoy everyone who wishes to take something nice on their way home while driving past their fields. If you’re looking for a pumpkin for making pie for Thanksgiving or simply for decoration, or need to bring home flowers for your significant other, you can purchase them on your way home in the fields. As the weather turns colder, fewer roadside stands will be open until spring.

Signs tell customers how to buy selfservice flowers, pumpkins and other agricultural products.


The Citizen, November 2019

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New, old friends meet for RAD 2019

answering questions from the audience until she offered to discuss their concerns at her table in the main RAD A large turnout of veterans with room. Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer a combined number of hundreds of years of service gathered at the Swabian Lynn M. Peterson, aArmy RSO program Special Events Center, Patch Barracks, manager, was the most popular person to meet up with old comrades and get in the RAD room, answering a steady up to speed on veterans benefits at the stream of questions from the audience garrison’s annual Retiree Appreciation from the opening ceremonies until the event ended at 2 p.m. Peterson is a parDay, Oct. 17. Retired Master Sgt. Gus Norvel, gar- ticularly knowledgeable subject matter rison Casualty Assistance Program and expert, being responsible for pre- and Retiree Services Officer for Stuttgart, post-retirement services. Her small organized and emceed the event. At office is the proponent for AR 600-8the beginning, there were more than 7, the retirement services regulation, 100 retirees in attendance, many ac- which she just finished updating; the Army Retired Soldier Handbook; the companied by family members. “And we still have three hours to Retirement Planning Guide; the Dept. of Army mandatory retirement briefing go,” Norvel said. “It’s a very big day. We have a lot of for all Soldiers. “We’re responsible for active duty retirees in our footprint, and it’s good to see they came out to this event because deaths as well as the Survivor Benefit we have so many agencies that are rep- Plan,” she said. “We’re also responsible resented for the Stuttgart community for My Army Benefits and the Soldier that retirees can benefit from,” Norvel for Life Army benefits pages. And Army said. “Turnout is more than last year. Echoes, which you should all be receivWe did a lot of promoting RAD through ing, and the Army Echoes blog.” Peterson shared a graphic showing PAO and AFN to announce it, and bulletins throughout the community. It the overall retiree of all services population as of 2018. shows!” “As you see, the Army takes up the Nikki Palmore, benefits advisor, Department of Veterans Affairs, told biggest chunk,” she said, adding that attendees that although they’ve retired, another piece of pie chart showed rethey still have personalized services tired Army Guard and Reserve Soldiers available to them. Palmore addressed await their 60th birthday to apply for common misconceptions about retiree retiree pay and benefits. “Do we have any sister services medical and other benefits. As the first speaker following the opening com- here?” she asked. As she named the Air ments, she immediately found herself Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, attendees U.S. & GERMAN ATTORNEYS raised their US & German Divorces • Support Issues hands or Wills and Probate • Employment • EEO • MSPB shouted out Personal Injury • Contractor Issues • Tax their verCALL 069-299-2069-0 sions of email: "hooah." The Results – Guaranteed. At H&R Block, we Air Force has stand behind our work. If we make a mistake, we will the secondpay any additional interest and penalties. Plus, if the IRS should call you in for an audit, we will explain your audit notice and the documentation you largest group need to provide, at no extra cost. We have experts on hand year around to help you. All prior of retirees. A years can be done as well. warm round of laughter Can your tax services give the same Guarantee? came after she Kurmarkerstr. 30 • 70569 Stuttgart-Vaihingen shared her faTel: 0711-6 87 30 96 or 0711-120 76 24 • Email: ther, an Air By John Reese USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

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Force veteran, didn’t understand why she’d joined the Army. Another graphic chock full of dozens of red, white and blue info ovals was “purposefully meant to overwhelm” the attendees, Peterson said. “It’s supposed to be in your face and for you to see everything that your retirement services officer is responsible for,” she explained. “Everything in the red, your retiree services officer is supposed to be a subject matter expert; everything in the white, they’re supposed to have a working knowledge; everything in blue, they’re supposed to have a basic understanding of the subject.” Anything that was within the very busy chart was something the RSO should be able to provide points of contact or resources, or provide answers and assistance for any retiree questions in regard to pay systems, benefit plans, etc. “With any of those subjects, the RSO is able to assist you,” Peterson said. Retirees lined up for influenza vaccinations, blood pressure checks by the Patch Health Clinic and the American Red Cross, read optometry cards or charts to check their vision, touch bases with ACS’s Survivor Outreach Services and much more. While all of the information was welcome, many veterans participated to see old friends again. “RAD is one of the best times to come and meet all of your retiree buddies,” said

A retiree adjourns to the lobby of the SSEC to review literature gathered during RAD 2019, Oct. 17.

retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. William H. Goble, who retired in Germany in 1972 and helped cut the cake as the earliest retirement. It turned out that former drill sergeant, 87-year-old Max W. Ellis, had retired a year before Goble. Ellis, wearing a baseball cap with “MAX” on it, enlisted April, 1951. Now in a wheelchair and assisted by his adult children, Ellis recalled his large retirement ceremony on July 31, 1971. “When I retired, there were 157 of us, including a brigadier general,” Ellis said. In addition to support by the 554th Military Police Company, members of Stuttgart High School JROTC helped to greet and sign-in retirees. “I feel proud supporting Retiree Appreciation Day. I love and support our veterans and I’m glad I can do it,” said sophomore and JROTC Cadet Cpl. Jayden Ranee Jones.

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A retiree reacts as he receives an influenza vaccination. A variety of medical screenings and dental services were offered to retirees at the SSEC, Oct. 17.

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Page 10

The Citizen, November 2019

The Citizen, November 2019


Page 11

How to clean green like a local By Holly Gomez Social Work Student Intern Army Community Service USAG Stuttgart

Amongst all of the many aspects of culture shock that living in Europe can bring, cleaning your home in a safe, environmentally friendly manner doesn’t have to be one. Part of Army Community Service’s continuous efforts is to meet the needs of the military community and educate it on the harmful effects of toxic chemicals. In Germany, there are laws and regulations adhering to water protection and environmental safety regarding the types of cleaning products permitted for use inside the home. According to the German law on the environmental compatibility of detergents and cleaners, surfactantcontaining detergents and cleaners are prohibited if the complete aerobic biodegradability of the surfactants is not in accordance with respective tests. It’s forbidden to market detergents and cleaners if the primary biodegradability

of the anionic and nonionic surfactants they contain does not exceed 80 percent. Manufacturers of cleaning products are held to certain standards to ensure they abide by these laws and regulations. If there’s good reason to believe that a cosmetic, cleaner or detergent poses a risk to the safety or health of humans, animals or to the environment, the Federal Environmental Agency of Germany may provisionally prohibit it being placed on the market. Those familiar with Americanmade cleaning products may be aware that most contain harsh chemicals. Today, many American-made cleaning agents are advertised with “no work required-just wipe away germs.” Toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde and ammonia are common in these products, and exposure to them may have many short to long-term effects to our health. As many of us are unfamiliar with the harmful effects these chemicals can have on our homes and bodies, ACS is proud to offer Operation Green Clean Abroad, a class providing this useful information.

The class is designed to help discover ways to easily replace cleaners or products containing toxic chemicals with natural, more environmentallyfriendly products. There are natural products which can be easily purchased and combined to create effective, non-toxic cleaning supplies, protecting German homes and saving Stuttgart military community members from being financially responsible for the damages caused by harsh chemicals. Operation Green Clean Abroad will teach how to care for the home, body, garden and pets in a safe, friendly manner. “This class is not only about green cleaning, but about using German cleaning solutions and ensuring that you don’t cause damage to your residence and the environment,” said Mari Haley, an instructor of the class. “It’s about making sure your experience of living overseas isn’t tainted by getting a big bill for damages caused by some of the American cleaners you’re used to using, but shouldn’t use here.”

in October, and leave them on until Easter. The new German law does not set any time limits, but it does clearly state that under icy conditions such as snowy, frosty, icy and slushy (bei Glatteis, Schneeglätte, Schneematsch, Eis- und Reifglätte) you must not drive without suitable tires on your vehicle. So, since it’s difficult to predict the weather, for all practical purposes, the old “von O bis O” rule still applies. German federal law was amended in 2015 to require the use of winter tires when conditions are icy. A new Alpine winter tire symbol has been added to the former M+S mark that means Matsch und Schnee. As of January 2018, newly fabricated winter tires must be marked with a new Alpine symbol (a 3-peak mountain pictogram with a snowflake; see photo below). The new

icon is more than a mere symbol. It also reflects the new law that spells out what a “winter tire” is, and sets new standards that were not in place before. Existing winter tires with only the old M+S mark will be allowed until Sept. 30, 2024, but the ADAC German automobile club recommends getting new tires with the Alpine 3-peak-mountain mark as soon as possible. The new law also applies to trucks and buses, but motorcycles are exempt. The 3-peak Alpine symbol is required on all new winter tires in Germany and reflects higher standards for those tires. In Alpine regions, particularly in Austria, Switzerland, and southern Germany’s mountainous regions, it is also wise to have Schneeketten, or in English, snow chains in your vehicle during the cold season. Although only 1.6 millimeters tread is required by law for tires, experts recommend more. The German automobile club ADAC recommends at least 4 millimeters for winter tires. Winter tires are mandatory for vehicles underway in slippery snow and frost, ice and slush. To understand the different laws of physics of all-season and winter tires, watch this 2:25 minute video where they compare the difference between

Photo by Paul Hughes, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

ACS volunteer instructor Jessie Santillan holds her homemade cleaners containing Castile soap and natural acids suitable for German homes.

Operation Green Clean Abroad is offered to all ID cardholders at ACS, Bldg. 2915, Panzer Kaserne, 9:30–10:30 a.m. the first Monday of the month (if the class falls on a holiday, it’s on the second Monday). For more information or to register, visit ACS or call 5963362 or 09641-70-596-3362.

Stuttgart Safety explains the law regarding snow tires Safety Office USAG Stuttgart

In November 2010, responding to a court's decision, the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, passed a new federal law that is much more specific about winter tires. It also increased the fines for drivers caught without snow tires or who have an accident in winter conditions without snow tires on their vehicle. Von O bis O: Most German motorists have long known the old rule of thumb for putting snow tires on the car: “von O bis O.” The term “from O to O” is short for “from October to Easter” (von Oktober bis Ostern). It is a recommendation that one should make the change from regular tires to snow tires Winter Driving Tips No matter how safe your car is, winter driving requires extra attention. Brake gently, accelerate gently and steer gently. Remember these tips, too: • As every driver's education teacher repeats, steer into a skid. • If you get stuck in the snow, throw kitty litter, old newspapers or dirt in front of and behind the drive wheels. • In snowy conditions, drive in lower gears. Avoid using your overdrive feature. • Always keep your gas tank at least half full.

Get more winter tips Visit the USAG Stuttgart Safety Office online via the garrison SharePoint to learn more winter seasonal safety tips at imcom_eur-usag/stuttgart/ISO/SitePages/home.aspx (CAC only!)

Photo by USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Winter is coming: Is your vehicle ready for the ice and snow?

all-season tires and winter/snow tires by evaluating acceleration, stopping and cornering capabilities on a snowy test track. All the above is just one part of the basics to technically winterize your car. Check the battery, antifreeze and other fluids, wipers, lights, heater, brakes, tire pressure etc. In addition a winter car care kit is strongly recommended which should include snow brush with scraper, flashlight with good batteries, blanket, gloves, small shovel, jumper cables, etcetera. “Most modern vehicles are equipped with additional electronic systems and it is worthwhile to read in the manual if and when they should be switched off,” said Andreas Böhmer, safety specialist, USAG Stuttgart Safety Office. Especially for the region of Stuttgart where there is a lot of traffic, most of the traffic jams, accidents and obstructions in winter are caused by vehicles that do not have proper winter equipment.


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The Citizen, November 2019

Public health officials offer easy steps to fight the flu Kirk Frady Regional Health Command Europe

As the flu season rapidly approaches, there are several common sense tips to help keep you and your loved ones healthy this winter season. Flu vaccinations are an annual requirement for service members, and the Army medical community offers the vaccine to them as well as their family members, retirees and civilians, here, in the European theater. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity begins to increase in October, peaking between December and February and diminishing by May. “The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu,” said Col. Kerry LeFrancis, Regional Health Command Europe Force Health Protection Officer. The vaccine is currently available at the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic, Bldg. 2300, Patch Barracks. Community members can be vaccinated on a walk-in basis during normal operating hours, 7:30–11:30 a.m. and from 1–3:30 p.m. (the clinic is closed 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on the

third Thursday of the month). They can also attend the final scheduled Saturday vaccination at the clinic, Nov. 23. Follow the Stuttgart Citizen online or the garrison Facebook page for announcements of any additional vaccination dates. “If you are not in a military unit, the fastest way to get the vaccine is to go to a local community event where it is being offered,” LeFrancis said. “These events will begin right around the second week in October. Dates and locations will be advertised through your local clinic.” Each year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies. And while it is still too early to predict how effective this season's flu vaccine will be in Europe, the vaccination is still recommended as it may make the illness milder and prevent hospitalization if the flu is contracted, according to Regional Health Command Europe officials. LeFrancis said that according to a recent study, “Vaccination reduces the number of flu related deaths, the number of hospital intensive care unit admissions and the duration of hospital stay for patients who do get hospitalized.” It can be tough for some of us to take some time out when we feel an illness coming on, LeFrancis said. “But it's important

Take a shot For more information on the flu vaccine or when and where you can get it, check out the Army Medicine clinic's Facebook page to find the latest information, or visit the CDC's website at

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Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.

to stay home from school or work to reduce the chance of spreading something potentially life threatening to those people who are at a high risk for flu complications,” he said. “You don't always know who those people are.”

Not getting vaccinated is a risk. “The study also found that unvaccinated adults with the flu who were admitted to the hospital were two to five times more likely to die than someone who had been vaccinated,” LeFrancis said.


The Citizen, November 2019

Page 13

Is vaping better than smoking? • • •

Be aware of what’s out there, especially if you’re a parent. The electronic cigarette industry attracts young adults and youth with fancy vaping equipment,

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There is a myth that using electronic cigarettes is better than smoking the traditional cigarette. Don’t be fooled! The Army recently issued a public health alert related to severe lung illnesses with e-cigarette use. After years of research, studies have shown that the use of traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco have harmful and/ or eventual fatal effects on all ages. Until recently, there hasn’t been a lot data related to e-cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, has declared an outbreak regarding the impact of ecigarette use and provided the following information as of October 15:

1479 lung injury cases associated with vaping across 49 states Thirty-three confirmed deaths in 24 states 70 percent of patients are male 79 percent of patients were under 35 years old, with the highest age group 25 to 34 years of age

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a variety of flavors and the lack of evidence of recently smoking, such as the smell of smoke. Other names for the electronic cigarettes, as listed by the CDC, are e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, mods and electronic nicotine delivery systems. The public announcement put out by Army Public Health includes additional terminology: • Dipping: When users drop e-cigarette solvents onto the devices hot coils, resulting in more concentrated compounds • Dabbing: when substances containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabidiol are superheated in the device Symptoms for the use of e-cigarettes may or may not appear immediately. The average onset of symptoms

occur after a few days to several weeks including difficulty breathing, coughing, shortness of breath and/or chest pain. There have also been reports of mild to moderate vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. Another serious condition is acute respiratory distress syndrome. The result is low blood oxygen, and therefore a risk of organ damage or failure. Of course, nicotine is addicting regardless of how it is administered. While there is a fight to ban e-cigarette use in minors and tighter Food and Drug Administration regulations, access and popularity with e-cigarettes still run rampant. It is recommended, if you do not use them, do not start. If you would like to quit, contact the Army Public Health office for more information on resources available for smoking cessation. Find out more about smoking cessation The Stuttgart Health Clinic has a Public Health Office. Please call 590-1602 to Please visit the CDC website for more information on e-cigarettes. Visit the Stuttgart Citizen online for links.

Page 14


The Citizen, November 2019

What we do not have Story By Ch. (Lt. Col.) Dan Rice Command Chaplain Special Operations Command Europe

It is easier to complain about what we don’t have. The list of things we wish we owned or the various places we think we would rather be is extensive to be sure. But what if we were grateful for what we do not have? Imagine how different our outlook would be if we habitually gave thanks for the things we have lost. Now, hear me out. I don’t mean that we flippantly say thanks for our pain and suffering, nor for shattered dreams that we were unable to see fulfilled. Our lives are filled with what ifs and if onlys. But as we approach Thanksgiving and are reminded to give thanks, I recommend we begin relooking at the many things we no longer have. Consider how blessed we still are. For example, my family and I moved here recently from the United States. It is easy for us to wish we were back home celebrating Thanksgiving with family, food and football games.

But as I relook at our situation, I must admit that living in Germany, trying to learn a new language and visiting so many unique castles, cathedrals and cultural sites is really amazing. I have so much to be grateful for since my family and I live here now. I have lost ChicFil-A, English-speaking radio stations and road signs I can easily understand, but I had to lose those things in order to be here. We have so many things to be thankful for and yet we tend to focus on what we do not have. In her book, “Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board,” Bethany Hamilton wrote: “I’m happy with the way that I look, and I don’t need an arm to be beautiful.” Bethany lost her left arm when a shark attacked her while she was surfing. She was 13 years old. The loss of her arm and the psychological impact of the shark attack could have left Bethany with regret and bitterness. But Bethany chose to see things differently. “It was a terrible thing that happened to me, but so many good things

Photo by USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

have come out of it that it has turned into a beautiful thing,” Bethany said. What about us? During this season of Thanksgiving, let’s look intentionally at our lives and see what we really have. We have all lost something at some

point, and we all wonder what could have been and why us. But we still have so much. You and I can still be grateful. We can choose to see the benefits behind the losses. We can be thankful for what we do not have.

Stuttgart Chapels: World-class volunteers, Part 1 completely unique! Eric is a chapel volunteer in the Patch Sunday morning Mass and found designing the logo to be a whole new way of thinking about chapel voluntary service. He’s a world-class volunteer giving his unique skills behind the scenes making a long term difference.

By Dr. Becky Powell, Natalie Lacey, and Kayleen Meade Religious Support Office USAG Stuttgart

(Editor’s note: In this two-part story, learn about volunteering with the garrison chapels.) Did you know that there are about 527 volunteer positions in the Stuttgart chapels? Stuttgart’s volunteers are worldclass leaders in the Army’s largest volunteer force. Our volunteers come with gifts of heart and spirit as well as with skills which include administration, music, education, art, journalism, photography, sound technology, computers, human resources, psychology, nursing, and organization. Volunteer graphic designer for Catholic Women of the Chapel: Catholic Women of the Chapel is an official chapel auxiliary under AR 165-1, para 5-6a. It is united with others across the Army but run by local volunteers under a sponsoring chaplain. In spring, Natalie Lacey, president, Stuttgart CWOC, and other volunteers realized that they needed a new logo to establish its unique identity (the existing logo was borrowed from a separate organization). They found a chapel volunteer with the right stuff to create the logo in Eric Hein, a 16-year-old Stuttgart High School junior.

The new logo is based on Our Lady of Good Counsel, the patron of CWOC. Eric was given this idea and ran with it. After multiple revisions, he went home with an idea and spent over 15 hours with a sketchpad, working and re-working the image. At the end of that weekend, he sent Natalie an email saying that he was truly excited to show the result. It was completely different from the earlier concepts that had been developed. And

Volunteers leading Jewish religious Support: Stuttgart has the only Hebrew School program in all of European Command. Like the wider USAG Stuttgart Jewish congregation, this weekly Sunday class is entirely led by world-class volunteers. Naama Krauz and her assistants teach Hebrew and Scripture to a multiage group of children and teenagers. The classroom innovates the world-class teaching methods in Jewish education and family engagement. Without a locally assigned Jewish chaplain, this congregation is led by distinctive religious group leader, Erick Posner.

These volunteers work with the Jewish Chaplains Council and coordinate for Jewish rabbi chaplain support in High Holidays and other special events in the Jewish faith. Many other Army garrisons lack both assigned chaplains and local programs. Stuttgart leads the way for all Jewish personnel of U.S. European Command because they are a congregation filled with world class volunteers. (Don’t want to wait until December to read the rest of this story? Read it all now on Become a RSO volunteer To be a world-class USAG Stuttgart chapel volunteer, contact your chaplain sponsor or email

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The Citizen, November 2019

Page 15

Fighters from across Europe compete in Stuttgart boxing championship By Rick Scavetta USAG Stuttgart

Military police work can be stressful, especially for a young platoon leader returning from a training cycle. While some Soldiers this autumn might have strolled to the local festival to blow off steam, 1st Lt. Francine Alba, 24, an officer with the 554th Military Police Company, chose to get in the ring. Alba was one of more than

40 boxers who took part in the 2019 U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Oktoberfest Boxing Championships, Oct. 19, at the fitness center on Panzer Kaserne. “It was what I needed to relieve the stress I was feeling,” Alba said. Service members came from all over Europe, to include Grafenwöhr, Baumholder, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Vicenza. One fighter came from Camp Lemonnier,

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Djibouti. The daylong event was broadcast live online. Alba began training in August, after a fellow Soldier encouraged others to take up boxing. Learning to box has been tough, yet rewarding, the San Diego-native said. “I’ve been getting uppercuts, hits to the ribs, nonstop – just for them to let me know what it feels like,” Alba said. “I’ve learned to put my chin down. They haven’t been going easy on me, but I appreciate it. It shows me that I can handle it.” The training paid off. Alba beat Jamie Falcone of Kaiserslautern in the sixteenth bout of the evening. Back in uniform, she’s sore – but proud of what she’s done. Other women she’s met show an interest in boxing, she said, but don’t think their place is in the ring. “If you want something different, you have to do something different,” Alba said. Stuttgart’s fighters train with boxing coach Luis Rivera, who first started in martial arts at age 13 in Puerto Rico. Now a military spouse, his wife serves in the Air Force in Stuttgart, Rivera, 37, trains fighters and also offers boxing for fitness classes. Training for the ring is about maintaining focus and learning more each day, he said. “This is mental, not only physical,” Rivera said. “It’s not just throwing punches” For Spc. Curtis Slone, a Soldier at U.S. Special Operation Command, Africa, boxing was a challenge in resiliency. At the St. Patrick’s Day boxing tournament in Vilseck, he lost by decision. That made him more determined, he said. “I went right back to training. I didn’t like losing,” Slone said. “I was just not going to stop.” Training for Slone meant daily morning runs, lifting weights at lunch and boxing in

Photos by Michele Wiencek, Training Support Center Stuttgart

the evening, he said. “It’s a good way to let some steam off and it makes you think,” said Slone, who won his Oktoberfest bout, beating Andre Fullart. “Anybody can throw a punch, but to win you have to slow down and see what’s going on. Taking up boxing is a family thing for Spc. Dominique Tuggle, a Soldier from U.S. Africa Command. His brother, Devante, fights in stateside boxing. “He was always boxing. He’d come in the house and throw a couple at you. He built a certain drive for it,” Tuggle said of his brother. “Training for me, that’s new.” Planning for this year’s event began the day after last year’s, said Caitlin Obländer, a supervisory specialist, with USAG-Stuttgart Sports & Fitness. Most fighters arrived a day

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before, weigh-ins and medical checks started early. By 2 p.m., matinee bouts were underway. The main event fights started at 6 p.m. and by 9 p.m., all 22 bouts were complete. Col. Jason Condrey, commander, USAG-Stuttgart, presented the team award to Soldiers from Grafenwöhr. This year, the goal was to improve the festival-like atmosphere outside the ring, Obländer said. Blue and white checkboard tablecloths and pumpkins covered long German fest-style tables. Outside, vendors sold traditional food and drinks. “It’s a team effort, with everyone from Sports and Fitness and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation,” Obländer said. “But it’s the boxers, the coaches and the fans who make or break the program. Without them we wouldn’t have a show.”