Vol. 50, No.3, March 2021
Serving the Greater Stuttgart Military Community www.stuttgartcitizen.com
Celebrating the women of USAG Stuttgart
Commander’s Column: Continued perseverance is the path to victory by Col. Jason Condrey USAG Stuttgart Commander
March marks one year of COVID impacts on our community that have drastically altered how we live and perform our mission. I know for many of you, this time last year, COVID-19 seemed like a faraway issue that did not threaten our way of life here. The thought that it would impact us as greatly as it has, and stick around for as long as it has, might have seemed ridiculous. But here we are, long into our second “lockdown” and searching for the light at the end of the COVID tunnel. I know I say this every month, but that’s because I truly mean it - thank you. The manner in which this community, as a whole, has persevered through these trying times is nothing short of inspirational. There are those who continue, and will continue to critique our policies. I see them on social media and hear from them often in our town halls, and at times it seems that there is nothing I, or anyone can do other than allow them to be heard. I encourage that feedback. We are all navigating this pandemic together, and none of us have dealt with this kind of thing before. We learn and adapt every day, and it is the feedback from you, that helps adjust course as we go. Of course, not every suggestion can be implemented and sometimes there are factors involved that are not public. I realize that is frustrating at times so I thank you, again, for your continued trust and adherence to the policies we put in place. There are many things you probably imagined doing during your tour in Germany. I certainly hoped to attend a few more festivals before I left,
Stay focused, stay resilient and stay safe. 2
and check out some historical places. I had several ideas of what it might be like to serve as your garrison commander and none of them involved telling grown adults to wash their hands, cancelling Halloween or forcing children to wear masks while playing outside. But nonetheless, I am thankful for the opportunity to lead such a diverse, resilient and competent community through these tough times. Your willingness to sacrifice comfort to protect others, and to go above and beyond to help those struggling, makes me proud to live here. I have no doubt that we will emerge on the other side both victorious and stronger for what we have been through together. Friendships, forged through grocery runs and virtual neighborhood parties, will add to that military family that stays with you long after you hang up the uniform or retire from service a second time. Travel may never be the same during your time in Europe, but the memories you make with the community around you, no matter how physically distanced or covered in masks, will outshine the brightest beach in Spain. We have come so far, and we have learned so much about what we are capable of as individuals, as neighbors and as a community, when we are put to the test. Now I ask, again, for your continued perseverance. With COVID vaccines coming into our community, and immediately being put to use, we can see the path to victory. But we aren’t there yet. Wear your masks, maintain your distances and wash your hands. Stay focused, stay resilient and stay safe. If we continue to do these things, we will maintain the upper-hand over COVID-19 and we will all reach the finish line together.
UNITED STATES ARMY GARRISON STUTTGART Commander Col. Jason W. Condrey
Commander’s Column ��������������02
Senior Enlisted Adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman
Health clinic adds ARC to COVID-19 mission ��������������������05
Public Affairs Officer Larry Reilly Managing Editor Becca Castellano
Daily Life & Leisure
Contributors Bardia Khajenoori, Paul Hughes, Geoffrey Morris, Jack Stumme
New titles arrive at the Library ����������������������04
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Cover page image: Spc. Imani Robinson was chosen to represent the women of U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart on our special Women’s History Month cover because of her volunteer efforts within this community, which earned her USAG Stuttgart’s 2020 military volunteer of the year award. We thank Imani and all the women of our community who participated with their photos in this edition.
Virtual events fill lockdown void ������������������������06 Cultural immersion ���������������� 12
Service Spotlight Red Cross to the rescue ��������� 14 The legacy of “Tweedy” ���������� 16
installation AER campaign kicks off ���������08 Environmental impact of COVID-19 ���������������������������� 18
Chapels Finding your hope �������������������09
Military lifestyle Evolution of women’s uniforms �������������������� 10
The Big Question What has COVID taught you? ��� 19
Unless otherwise indicated, all seven-digit phone numbers in The Stuttgart Citizen are DSN numbers and all longer numbers are civilian.
New arrivals at the library
by Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Book covers and descriptions courtesy of goodreads.com
As we enter another month of COVID restrictions at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, the friendly librarians at the Patch Library remain dedicated to taking you on a journey from the safety of your living room. Stocked with an endless supply of books, movies, tv shows and games, the library remains open and offers a request system to supply you with whatever adventure you would like to embark on next. Just visit https://www.mwrlibrary.armybiznet.com/ and pick out up to ten items from their massive database. Then sit back and wait for a notification that your order is ready. According to Librarian Steven Roark, a big hit right now is The Crown, so you might have to jump on the waitlist if you are hoping to binge watch it. Here are a few other in-demand titles that have just arrived at the Patch Library.
What if I’m Worried About Covid-19? By Emily Dolbear This book addresses the social and emotional needs of kids during the COVID-19 pandemic: their fears, anxieties, and how to manage stress in various ways. Additional features include informative captions, interesting factual sidebars, suggested activities, a phonetic glossary, resources for further research, information about the author, and an index. Quick and Delicious: 100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes Or Less By Gordon Ramsay With unlimited access to recipes, why does anyone need another cookbook? Because not all recipes are born equal. Not all of them have been created by a global superstar chef who has built his reputation on delivering the very best food — whether that’s the ultimate fine dining experience at his 3 Michelin-star Restaurant, Gordon 4
Ramsay, or the perfectly crafted burger from his Las Vegas burger joint. Over the course of his stellar career, Gordon has learned every trick in the trade to create dishes that taste fantastic and that can be produced without fail during even the busiest of days. Armed with that knowledge, he has written an inspired collection of recipes for the time-pressed home cook who doesn’t want to compromise on taste or flavor. The result is 100 tried and tested recipes that you’ll find yourself using time and again. All the recipes take 30 minutes or less and use readily available ingredients that are transformed into something special with Gordon’s no-nonsense approach to delicious food. How to Raise an Elephant By Alexander McCall Smith The next book in the perennially adored No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series sees Precious Ramotswe calling upon all her maternal instincts when she’s faced with a twoton case. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but can Mma Ramotswe and the rest of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency come together to raise a pipsqueak pachyderm? We may find out in this novel. We may not. Who can say? Phoenix Rising: From the Ashes of Desert One to the Rebirth of U.S. Special Operations By Col. (Ret.) Keith M. Nightingale “As a junior officer and the lowest ranking ‘gopher’ at the creation of these forces, I saw how the several Services had great reservations regarding SOF to the point of studied dislike of it and a distinct distaste for its inclusion as a member of their force structure. The single lone exception was Army Chief of Staff Shy Myer, who saw terrorism and asymmetrical warfare as the emerging National threat and worked to build a missing capability. He did this as a
lone wolf in that much of the Army leadership as well as the other Services, looked upon SOF as a high-risk loose cannon on their stable conventional deck.” In 1980, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was seized and the American citizens there taken hostage. The Joint Chiefs of Staff examined its inventory of capabilities and concluded it had in reality, no capabilities other than nuclear weapons or mass conventional forces — neither of which were rational outcomes. Any capability tailored for this form of conflict would have to be built from scratch. Keith Nightingale, then a junior officer, was Deputy Operations Officer of Joint Task Force Eagle Claw, commanded by Major General James Vaught, which attempted to do just that. This is his personal, unique account of the events leading to the rescue attempt, and how its failure directly led to the creation of the Special Operations competency that the United States enjoys today. The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World By Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts The women’s suffrage movement was decades in the making and came with many harsh setbacks. But it resulted in a permanent victory: women’s right to vote. How did the suffragists do it? One hundred years later, an eye-opening look at their playbook shows that some of their strategies seem oddly familiar. Women’s marches at inauguration time? Check. Publicity stunts, optics, and influencers? They practically invented them. Petitions, lobbying, speeches, raising money, and writing articles? All of that, too. From moments of inspiration to some of the movement’s darker aspects — including the racism of some suffragist leaders, violence against picketers, and hunger strikes in jail — this clear-eyed view takes in the role of key figures: Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, Ida B. Wells, Alice Paul, and many more. Engagingly narrated by Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts, whose friendship goes back generations (to their grandmothers, Lady Bird Johnson and Lindy Boggs, and their mothers, Lynda Robb and Cokie Roberts), this unique melding of seminal history and smart tactics is sure to capture the attention of activists-in-the-making today.
Health clinic adds ARC to COVID-19 mission
by Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart is preparing a new facility to add to their toolkit. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled March 12, 2021, to usher in the new Acute Respiratory Clinic, or ARC, approximately 12 months after the clinic’s first COVID-19 Case.
Once operational, the ARC will provide staff with a location separate from the health clinic to evaluate and assist patients with respiratory symptoms, said USAHC Stuttgart commander, Lt. Col. Maria Bruton. “This new space will allow our team to safely address any health-related concerns for patients with respiratory symptoms without exposing them to healthy patients and multiple staff members,” she added. Currently, patients with acute respiratory symptoms are escorted through a separate entrance to isolation rooms in the main clinic where they can be treated. The new structures add four exam rooms and two waiting rooms outside of the regular clinic. USAHC Stuttgart executive officer, Maj. Riliwan Ottun, said the two structures are designed to direct patients in and out of separate doors, to ensure adequate spacing between patient encounters.
“The doors into and out of the exam room are equipped with a negative pressured HVAC [heating, ventilation, and air conditioning] system to ensure that air within the exam room does not circulate into the rest of the structure,” said Ottun. He added that patients who present with acute respiratory symptoms at the COVID-19 drive-through testing center or main clinic, will be directed to the ARC for further evaluation by a healthcare physician during duty hours. U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Deputy Director 3/5/7, Lt. Col. David McGurk, said the idea for the ARC was “born out of necessity” and initial planning began in late August. “With the winter months approaching, it was apparent we needed an additional resource managed by the health clinic, with adequate shelter from the elements and power and water to segregate those potentially afflicted by the coronavirus from the general population,” said McGurk. Organizations and commands across the garrison collaborated to bring the concept to life. From planning, to major Directorate of Public Works efforts, to the final medical certifications, McGurk said the success of the project “truly was a team effort.”
Top: USAHC Stuttgart executive officer, Maj. Riliwan Ottun, stands in the waiting room of the new Acute Respiratory Clinic and explains how traffic will flow into the exam room. Bottom: The new Acute Respiratory Clinic, located in the parking lot next to USAHC Stuttgart will begin seeing customers in March.
One of four new exam rooms USAHC Stuttgart will use to treat patients with acute respiratory symptoms.
“truly … a team effort”
Virtual events fill void during lockdown
By Bardia Khajenoori U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
Melissa Pros had taken part in her fair share of food, wine, and cocktail tastings in nearly seven years of exploring the food and cultural scenes of Stuttgart and Europe before the COVID-19 pandemic. But amid lockdown measures keeping these sectors shuttered for weeks or months on end, bars, restaurants, and cultural institutions have increasingly offered culture-seekers like her the chance to turn their living rooms into tasting rooms or lecture halls with web-based events.
“Businesses are struggling to cover expenses, without being able to operate normally,” said Pros. Consequently, “they’re now more open to hosting online events to deliver products and experiences to their patrons,” including in English. MWR Tours Manager Allison Lord knows that well, having worked with wineries in France, Italy, and the Stuttgart area to organize virtual tasting events for the community. “It’s been a completely new experience for [the winemakers]” and “a brand new adventure for us,” as well as for many participants. The virtual events have had an “overwhelmingly positive” response, said Lord. The idea is to offer the type of unique cultural experience that used to come from travel, while travel is not possible. “People are very excited to have something to look forward to on their calendars instead of every day being the same. It gives them the ability to share a common experience and interact socially, but at a safe distance.” Nonprofit cultural organizations have also had to find ways to continue their missions regardless. “We are an institution whose main goal is to bring people together, so the pandemic has had a huge effect on our programming. In a very short time, we went from all analog to all digital,” said Katharina Buchter, who manages the Language 6
Program and Communication Projects for the German-American Center/Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum (DAZ) Stuttgart. There are certain advantages to online events for attendees, she notes. “You can participate from the comfort of your own home and tune in wherever you are. There is no need to navigate traffic or public transportation to downtown Stuttgart… you don’t have to rush after work, leave partners and relatives behind who cannot come along, or have to find a babysitter to make it in time or make it all.” Event organizers can benefit, too. With distance or room size no longer limiting factors, both attendees and presenters can join from anywhere — expanding not just audience size and availability of potential guests, but also an organization’s geographic and demographic reach, which the DAZ has seen. Of course, there are downsides for those who don’t have devices or aren’t technically adept, and it’s not currently possible to linger after events and chat with panelists or like-minded audience members. An in-person speaker would not simply disappear due to technical issues, and some online events require more staffing from the DAZ than onsite ones, said Buchter. But while the extraordinary conditions have forced cultural institutions and businesses to adapt, they have also offered some freedom to experiment. Stuttgart’s State Opera, which hadn’t held a traditional opera ball in nearly twenty years, hosted a free immersive virtual event on February 16 com-
plete with dance floors, a promenade and a variety of live bands. Newspaper headlines the next day described the event as a “mega hit” which received such enthusiastic responses that a follow-up story reported on popular support for restoring the inperson tradition. Some museums have even taken to tailoring entire exhibits into digital experiences, such as the Württemberg State Museum in Stuttgart’s Altes Schloss. Its special exhibition, “Fashion?! The Elements of Style,” which opened in late October, has also been made available on the “Google Arts and Culture” app and website, with most of the content available in English. Although the current prevalence of virtual events may be a product of pandemic circumstances, organizers’ positive experiences with producing them could reflect in programming choices even after “return to normal.” The DAZ, for example, which did not have fully online events at all until last year, “already know that we’ll also include digital or hybrid programs in the future” to complement in-person events after it’s safe to meet up again, said Buchter. Some digital offerings may also be on the cards at MWR Tours in the future, which, as a tours office, was focused — up until the pandemic — on getting people out of the house and away from home. “We’re exploring options for virtual events because I believe there’s an interest,” said Lord, noting that there are many reasons people might prefer to stay home on a particular night, even if there are
“It gives them the ability to share a common
interact socially, but
at a safe distance.”
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Top left: Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, John Emerson, discusses the power of diplomacy with Marion Danzeisen from the DeutschAmerikanisches Zentrum during a virtual fireside chat. Top and bottom right: Melissa Pros enjoys participating in virtual wine tastings from the safety of her living room. Courtesy photos
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2021 AER Campaign Kicks Off
Soldiers helping Soldiers - U.S. Soldiers with the 75th Ranger Regiment scale the cliffs like Rangers did during Operation Overlord 75 years ago at Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France, June 5, 2019. Photo by Markus Rauchenberger - TSC Grafenwöhr
has the authority to approve an AER loan of up to $2,000,” said Alleyne. “Anyone struggling financially should ask for help.” You may think the worst could never happen to you, The most common assistance requests are for but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that you vehicle repair and maintenance, initial deposit and never know what might happen next. rent payment, basic living expenses, emergency travel, and permanent change of station (PCS) During 2020, the Army Emergency Relief (AER) related expenses. But Alleyne said in 2020 they fund assisted someone from almost every branch of helped multiple commilitary service with unexpected immediate finan- munity members strugcial needs such as; rent, utilities, emergency travel, gling with funding for and more. emergency travel and The private, nonprofit organization has pro- housing costs due to the vided monetary help for Army active duty, retirees, coronavirus crisis. and their families since its establishment in 1942. To supplement AER’s Because USAG Stuttgart is a joint community, AER mission, a fundraising extends its services to assist all service members campaign is held every year from March to May; serving here, regardless of their branch affiliation. however, the 2020 campaign was impacted severely According to AER’s Financial Readiness Program by COVID-19. Counselor, Arcelio V. Alleyne, 85 percent of service “2020 was a challenge because of the COVID members’ needs can be met through their Quick restrictions. The closure of the installation came Assist Program. around the start of the AER Campaign, literally “Every company commander and first sergeant shutting down the campaign until July 1st,” said Alleyne. “AER headquarters extended the campaign through July to give all installations An English-speaking, Bible-believing church of many nations and cultures a chance to reboot the www.ibcstuttgart.de campaign.” Untere Waldplaetze 38, 70569 Stuttgart “The plan to extend (across the street from Patch Barracks) the campaign worked Worship Services Sunday Service: 9:30 & 11:30 in Stuttgart where the Other Opportunities to Connect community donated Sunday School, Awana, Youth, Young Adults, more than the previous Men’s, & Women’s Ministries two years combined,” said Alleyne. Due to the success of the campaign, We’d love to get to know you and see how we can minister with you and your family. AER was able to proBy Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
vide nearly $100,000 in emergency relief to service members in Stuttgart, including more than $25,000 in grants to the community. While 2020 ended up being a success, the 2021 AER campaign faces many of the same COVID-19 challenges and Alleyne is again issuing a rallying cry. “Even though six times as many people donated in 2020 than in 2019, we still need more participa-
The donations you make could very well end up helping your neighbor or battle buddy.
tion from individual units and motivated key personnel in those units,” said Alleyne. This year’s fundraising campaign will run from March 1 until May 15. The donations you make could very well end up helping your neighbor or battle buddy. Service members, DOD civilians, contractors and other community members can contribute to the campaign. Donations can be made at the Post Exchange cash registers in increments of $1, $5 and $10, or you can enter a custom amount and make online donations in $5 increments during checkout at ShopMyExchange.com. Donations help active duty service members and dependents, retirees, surviving spouses and orphans of service members who died while on active duty, or after they retired with food, rent, funeral expenses, emergency medical expenses and more. “Receiving AER assistance will not affect promotions, security clearances or schooling,” said Alleyne. “All eligible members can come to AER confidentially.”
Chaplain’s Corner: Finding your hope By Chaplain Jack Stumme United States Africa Command
Photo by PopTika/Shutterstock.com
On March 17, many people will observe Saint Patrick’s day. Most of us are going to wear something green (thank you to the military for taking care of that for a lot of service members!), look for pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, and indulge in green drinks.
While Saint Patrick’s Day is fun for us, his own life was much different. But his story can still inspire us. At about 14 years of age, Irish pirates kidnapped Patrick from his home village in Roman Britain and took him back to Ireland. There they forced him to herd and tend sheep. It is said that while tending sheep in the lonely Irish countryside, Patrick’s faith began to grow. At around the age of 20, Patrick escaped and traveled to the coast of Ireland where he found sailors who took him back to Britain and his family. We are told that after a few years at home, Patrick saw a vision that called him back to the very people who had enslaved him.
Patrick entered into theological studies for the priesthood and on March 25, 433 C.E., he returned to Ireland where he served God and the people of Ireland for 28 years until his death on March 17, 461 C.E. How can the life of Saint Patrick encourage us today as we grapple with the COVID19 pandemic fallout? First, we can see that Patrick never gave up hope, even while herding sheep alone, far from family and home. Hope is such a key ingredient to life! Wherever you are or whatever you are doing, find your hope. It could be in your personal faith or something else, but find hope because it is the key to resiliency. A second way to find encouragement from the example of Saint Patrick is to consider how he took a trying situation in his life and used it ultimately for good. Instead of harboring bitterness, he cared for his
former captors and returned to help them. He did not focus on the past, but looked to the future. Perhaps Saint Patrick’s experience was similar to that of Col. Nick Rowe, who was a prisoner of war for five years in Vietnam. Col. Rowe wrote, “The enemy will never realize how much I thank them for taking everything material away from me and reducing me to the point where I didn’t have anything but faith in God. I had a chance to look at myself and realize that you can do things you never realized were possible.” This March, don’t let COVID-19 or anything else keep you down. Rather, find your hope and look for opportunities to do good around you, just as Saint Patrick did. You too will find things you never realized were possible. And you don’t even need a lucky fourleaf clover. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
“I had a chance to look at myself and realize
that you can do things
you never realized
2 5 6 5 5 e g n a h c x E o t Au
The 434th Field Artillery Brigade Class 64-20, Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery Regiment, became the first graduating class nationwide to wear the “new” Army Greens service uniforms Nov. 16. (Fort Sill) Courtesy photo
Fashion vs. Practicality:
The evolution of the female uniform By Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
On March 19, 1917, Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels issued a historic order allowing female Sailors to join the Naval Reserve Force. Two days later, Loretta Walsh enlisted in a modified male Chief Petty Officer’s uniform and became the first woman to officially serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. When World War I started, just 16 days later, 200 more women had joined her.
Since then, thousands of women have followed in their footsteps, and most have had to serve in uniforms designed for thier male counterparts, or body types different from their own. As women’s roles and responsibilities in the armed forces have expanded, too often the uniforms they wear are slower to catch up. (Ret.) Col. Jane Crichton enlisted as an administrative specialist in the Army in 1982. When she reported to boot camp, she was issued the Army’s brand-new Battle Dress Uniforms, or BDUs, which had just replaced the previous green uniforms known as pickle suits. “I remember wishing that we’d gotten the green uniforms because they looked better than the BDUs,” said Crichton. “And that the uniforms were a bit stiff until they were washed a few times.” Once broken-in, Crichton said the BDU’s were ok but the female Army Service Uniform, or class A’s, were ugly. “We had two versions, a pant suit and a skirt suit — and the pant suit was horrible,” she said. “The female uniforms at that point in time, early to mid 80s, made you think that they were really trying to make you look as unappealing as possible.” Crichton’s thoughts have been shared by many women who have had to work in uniforms designed for a man’s body. With that in mind, the Army 10
Uniform Board approved funding to research a female-only Army Combat Uniform (ACU) in 2009. Feedback from focus groups directed their attention to narrowing the shoulders, tapering the waist slightly and flaring the hip a bit more. The new design also featured an elastic waist and more room in the seat. After several phases of testing on both men and women, the new uniform was found to fit everyone better and was rolled out as a unisex option in 2012. Focus groups like the ones used to improve the Army’s ACUs, paired with surveys, help leadership across all branches to continuously improve user experience. But that can also mean a service member may see several uniform changes throughout their career. Over the course of her 33-year career, Crichton endured four changes to her P.T. uniform, three changes to her Class A’s and four changes to her combat uniforms. Some of those changes, like improvements to boots and the addition of pen holders on combat uniforms, were great for Crichton, but not all changes were appreciated. “I did not love the last Class A uniform I had. It was blue and made of light wool and it creased so badly and just didn’t hang well,” she said. “Also, the shirt was white and when I put on the uniform my first thought was that I looked like I was in the Salvation Army.” The mission to design a uniform that works for both men and women and is practical, comfortable, and safe, continues to be a struggle for the services. In a recent uniform update, the Army decided to reach back in the vault and update a classic look, the World War II
A group of WAVES in their summer seersucker uniforms. Smart, feminine uniforms were used to make service more attractive to women, and put families at ease that their “girls” would remain girls. The National WWII Museum. Courtesy photo
Army Green Service Uniform. When the Army announced plans to revamp the beloved look in 2018, they took an unprecedented step and assembled an all-female board to provide extensive feedback on the design of the women’s uniform. One result of their input is that women will be issued pants, tailored to the female body, to wear alongside their male counterparts. Skirts are still available for purchase, but they will not be the default option. Project Manager for Soldier Survivability at the Program Executive Office, Col. Stephen Thomas, said the all-women board voted unanimously for the change. “That whole all-female board decided, ‘Hey, so we want trousers as opposed to a skirt as being the primary uniform because we want all of us as Soldiers to look the same,” Thomas told reporters during a round table event. “And I thought that was pretty profound, for that all-female board to come up with that decision.” The project to outfit the Army in the modern take on the old look will roll-out during the next several years. Soldiers will not be required to own the new Class A uniform until 2027. The Air Force is also working to improve uniforms for their female ranks. After a recent study found Left: U.S. Navy recruits get their first military haircuts within days of reporting to boot camp. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Chris Desmond.
that nearly 400 pregnant Airmen were resorting to wearing larger flight suits during pregnancy, creating safety issues, the Air Force launched a project to develop maternity flight suits. The initiative went from concept to reality in less than a year, allowing pregnant Airmen to continue working safely, further into their pregnancy. The Air Force also signed a contract to buy thousands of sets of body armor tailored to the female form and fix gaps in protection the previous armor, designed for men, created for women. The Air Force leads the other branches in female service, with women making up 20 percent of its staffing. So, it’s not a surprise they often have more modern standards when it comes to women’s uniforms and grooming standards. Crichton said she was always envious of some of the Air Force’s policies in regards to women in uniform. “I always wished we could wear earrings like they did in the Air Force so I’m glad to see that changing in the Army finally,” said Crichton. All the services have announced major changes to grooming standards over the last decade. The Navy, which used to cut all female recruits’ hair to chin-length in basic training, ceased the practice in 2015 after feedback highlighted that it was better to allow new recruits to learn how to style their hair into military buns than to send them to the fleet with hair that was too short to put up. Chief Petty Officer Loretta Walsh The Navy relaxed modified a men’s uniform to enlist in their standards a litthe Navy on March 21, 1917. Courtesy photo tle further in 2018 by
(Ret.) Army Col. Jane Crichton (2nd from left) wearing her Army Service Uniform. Courtesy photo
(Ret.) Col. Jane Crichton wears her class A service and dress uniform. Courtesy photo
allowing ponytails in uniform after studies also showed that the typical “military bun”, which was often slicked back and too tight, left many women suffering from headaches or hair loss. The Air Force and Army soon followed suit and during the past year, have created more accommodating grooming standards that embrace the diverse nature of the armed forces. Women no longer have a minimum length they must maintain and they can wear their hair in buns, braids, ponytails, dreads, and locks, with specific standards for each style to maintain safety and professionalism. These changes create a more inclusive environment according to a statement from the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, JoAnne S. Bass. “In addition to the health concerns we have for our Airmen, not all women have the same hair type, and our hair standards should reflect our diverse force,” said Bass in a statement released on the Air Force’s website. “I am pleased we could make this important change for our women service members.” AFN Stuttgart’s Air AFN Stuttgart’s Air Force Force Staff Sgt. Krystal Staff Sgt. Krystal Wright Wright said the sweepwears her hair in a ing revisions, which newly authorized braid include new nail polish at work. guidelines and jewelry Photo by Becca Castellano wear, make her proud to be a part of such an inclusive organization. “We can look feminine and still look formidable,” said Wright. “Whether my hair is in a bun that gives me a screaming headache or two braids that allow me to work comfortably, I can still excel at my job.” As for the military’s
mission to create uniformity while celebrating diversity, Crichton said at the end of the day, accommodations are good as long as they continue to be practical, and present a professional appearance. “Uniforms help to identify our members as a team as well as support the idea of being part of a profession,” she said. “I always found that when I thought I looked good and professional in my uniform I felt confident and proud to be a Soldier.” Plenty of changes have occurred during the 104 years since Walsh enlisted as a secretary in her altered men’s uniform, to today’s female Airmen, flying in maternity suits. But one thing remains the same: when their nation needs them, women are answering the call.
“Uniforms help to identify our members as a team as well as support the idea of being part of a profession”
A female Soldier attending the Army Recruiter Course at Fort Knox, Ky., gets fitted for the new Army Green Service Uniform at the installation’s military clothing sales store July 8, 2020. Photo by Eric Pilgrim
Cultural Immersion — Living off post Story & photos by Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
This is the first part of a three-part series that takes a look at what it’s like to live off-post, on-post and in the barracks at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. An overseas assignment to Germany can produce a bunch of uncertainty for households. Where will we live? Where will our children go to school? What is Germany like? Some may desire to absorb themselves in the local culture, by living in a German town, or village. For others, remaining on post brings the convenience, familiarity and services that they prefer.
Stuttgart’s joint military community comprises around 30,000 people. Similar to the States, the military provides as much on-post accommodation as possible, but many will have to settle off post. The housing areas on Patch Barracks, Kelley Barracks, Robinson Barracks and Panzer Kaserne
accomodate just 20 percent of the personnel assigned to USAG Stuttgart. For the other 80 percent of the population, finding accommodations on the economy that fits their family’s needs can be challenging. Kathryn Brown lives in the quiet town of Ehningen and is the spouse of National Guardsman Patrick, who works with the Joint Headquarters Cyberspace Operations Integrated Planning Element on Patch Barracks. Ehningen is a classic 1950s style German town: small, predominantly made up of residential buildings and lacking in the facilities you might find on post and in larger cities. It has its own train station, providing rapid travel to central Stuttgart, and provides the added benefit of a short commute distance to work. Patch Barracks and Panzer Kaserne are only a 20-minute ride along the A81. The Browns live in the more contemporary “Buhl’’ area, constructed around fifteen years ago. Their home benefits from a modest backyard, a basement, a garage and a terrace with views over the town. The couple and their three children make up five of the 8,000 people who call Ehningen home. “We came here intending to stay for about eight months and we’ve been able to extend that time to one year so far,” said Kathryn Brown, who was mandated off-post accommodations because of her husband’s initial short tour. “When we moved to Europe, the biggest motivation we had was to expose our kids to the world and a broader perspective,” Brown said. While the “American Bubble” of living on post is what some families want, the opportunity to experience a German way of life was a particular desire for the Browns. “I like living off post a lot. It allows us to participate more in society and experience day-to-day life, not as tourists, but more as expats in a way,” Brown said. Because of the short duration of their initial assignment, Brown chose homeschooling for her two school-age children to remain flexible for travel. However, COVID reached Europe just two weeks after they arrived in Germany. Initial outdoor block parties with neighbors gave Brown a sense that they were living in an open, lively community, but as the restrictions clamped down, those interactions went away. “I’ve not really made any German friends and the German friends I have made happen to be married to Americans,” Brown said. Brown’s family tried to share some American culture by throwing a physically-distanced Halloween party. They offered single use, self serve refreshments and hotdogs for trick-or-treaters and locals. The idea came after looking to create opportunities that would bring the neighborhood together. But, with the current restrictions in place, it wasn’t as successful as it could have been. “I think it is because of COVID, not because of living on, or off post,” Brown said. Living on the economy has other challenges too, but speaking the local language has helped Brown when grocery shopping or in restaurants, where she handles the ordering of food for the entire family.
For everything else, there has been technology. “Google Translate has aided me in the more intimate conversations with neighbors or doctors,” Brown said. “Most will not need German to do well in Germany, but life is easier if you try to master at least transactional German.” In contrast to living and going to school on post, Brown’s children have found aspects of living in a German community challenging. They take German classes twice a week, but still struggle with the language barrier, sometimes finding it tough to form friendships with German children in the neighborhood. Brown recalls when her son, who at one point appeared to be making friends with some local youths, later realized they were in fact tricking him by not telling him all the rules to the game and making fun of him. “I don’t think they were being rude because they were German, it wasn’t anything other than kids being kids,” said Brown, who added that the family remains resolute. “Those local kids will never know what it’s like to be a foreign national. To move to another culture and have no one understand your language, but my kids will know what that’s like and they will never forget it and it will make them better,” said Brown. She added that these are the kinds of challenges that one must expect to overcome when living in a foreign country. Safety is another common concern, both on and off post, and it is not always crime-related. There can be an inherent danger in not understanding cultural, or societal norms, such as using a road crossing, especially as children. Brown insists she feels safe living off post, even going so far as giving her children increased opportunities for independence, to explore and play in the town with little apprehension. Kathryn’s fourth-grade daughter, Zipporah, or Zippy, has never experienced life on a military post, but can compare it to life back in the States. “Here I can go with my brother, or friend to the bakery to get a pastry every day,” Zippy said. “We do not use the car so much. Ehningen is small enough that we can go everywhere, but big enough that we have places to go, like the ice cream store, or apple picking. As long as one of you has a little of the other’s language, it’s fine.”
Other challenges the family has dealt with include host-nation rules that protect the peace, or the environment. Not being allowed to mow thier lawn on Sunday. Not being able to wash their cars or make basic fluid changes in the driveway may force the family to go to a garage, or to the Auto Skills Center on Kelley Barracks. “I approach these issues through the mindset of a guest,” Brown said. “I can’t get upset, because I am a guest and it’s their rules. These rules sometimes mean routine things like shopping, dentist visits, or taking the kids to a club can take twice as long when compared with living on post.”
Despite not being given a choice of whether to live on or off post, Brown said she’s happy with where they ended up. “Living on post would be easier for the children, and that would be a huge part of any decision. But, I believe the opportunities of living off post, outweigh the challenges,” she said. Next month the Stuttgart Citizen will talk with a member of the on-post community to discover what life is like inside the wire.
Kathryn Brown decides which pizza the family gets for dinner at her local supermarket in Ehningen.
Kathryn Brown checks her shopping list during a trip to her local supermarket in Ehningen for her family’s daily essentials.
Kathryn Brown goes through the checkout at her local supermarket in Ehingen, while observing host nation COVID restrictions — including keeping a 2m distance and the wearing of a mask
An art installation in the central Ehningen Markplatz, looks towards the Marienkirche clock. The square also contains an Apotheke (pharmacy), ice cream store, and pizza restaurant.
Ehningen is located on the northwestern edge of the Schoenbuch nature park and the first documented mention of the town can be dated back to 1185. The town’s crest can be seen on the road sign — a golden duck’s foot, clutching a red apple, on a field of blue.
Ehningen is a commuter town. The town’s rail station has direct links to Stuttgart and to Herrenberg, with the former being reachable in 30 mins.
The Buhl area of Ehningen was mostly constructed within the last 10 years, with many new homes still being constructed today. This house, with its 3 floors, garage and garden at the rear is an example of the kind of home the Browns live in. Beyond the roof lies a crane which is part of a new home building project for the neighbourhood.
7 March 2021
American Red Cross to the Rescue By Geoffrey Morris Stuttgart Citizen volunteer
When the coronavirus began shutting down services and sending employees to work from home at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, volunteers with the American Red Cross stepped forward to help fight the virus on the frontlines.
According to Jason Kalinowski, the regional program manager for USAG Stuttgart’s American Red Cross, The team of Red Cross volunteers in the community have been supporting the garrison’s efforts to combat COVID-19 from the beginning and their role has grown over the past year. “While Red Cross volunteers began serving as front-door screeners and trace-team members, they eventually joined the testing teams in the COVID tent and are now helping with the vaccination efforts,” said Kalinowski. Ola Kleczek, a registered nurse with the Red Cross, spoke about her experience with the organization as the Coronavirus outbreak began. “I felt a huge desire, like I was almost letting everyone down if I didn’t try and help,” she said. For those not affiliated with the clinic already, the Red Cross provides potential volunteers an avenue to help and maintain credentials by guiding them through the credentialing and clearance process.
“There are lots of knowledgeable and skilled spouses in this community who are healthcare workers who can’t find work,” Kleczek continued. “The Red Cross offers [them] the opportunity to help out and to keep up clinical skills.” Kleczek joined the Red Cross team of volunteers as a Marine spouse in 2019, when a string of bad storms struck North Carolina. Since then, she has been an active member of the organization and is dedicated to helping whatever community she is in. Currently, she serves as one of four Red Cross volunteers who alternate schedules to keep the COVID tent manned each week. They work alongside volunteers from across the community, including military members from tenant units and reserve components. Even Red Cross’s community youth have become involved, with the Stuttgart High School Red Cross Club promoting hygiene and physical distancing at the beginning of the outbreak. Bettina Wagner, Stuttgart High School (SHS) senior, has volunteered with the organization for three years and is the current president of the SHS Red Cross Club. “I really wanted to serve,” Wagner said, “because there are so many people serving us.” She said the club trains and develops their skills in first aid and medicine to be better prepared to help if the opportunity arises. While the students American Red Cross are not able to help volunteers provide directly in the COVID assistance and hand fight just yet, they have sanitizer to donors at a found other ways to blood drive at U.S. Army encourage those who Garrison Stuttgart. are on the front lines. Photo by Geoffrey Morris. Most recently, the students organized a holi-
day card drive for single Soldiers, giving out more than 300 cards to those isolated during the holidays because of COVID. As for combatting COVID directly, the club has focused on awareness by encouraging mask wearing and physical distancing. Both Kleczek and Wagner agree that joining the Red Cross is an easy and rewarding thing to do, and it provides invaluable manpower to the community’s crisis response team. Kleczek added that the additional tasks related to COVID are on the top of Army Health Clinic Stuttgart’s mission to provide healthcare to the community. “The COVID tent is an added process, vaccination is an added process, but the amount of clinic staff hasn’t changed,” Kleczek explained. “This is where we can help.” Lt. Col. Maria Bruton, U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart Commander, said the extra hands have helped sustain both sides of the clinic’s mission: to battle COVID through ample testing, screening and vaccination, and to maintain the community’s health care. “We have been extremely fortunate for the American Red Cross volunteers that have served with us and spent countless hours contacting COVID-19 positive community members, conducting trace contacting for close contacts, screening and testing, and inoculating community members for influenza and COVID-19,” she said. “They have enabled the team to meet our mission requirements along with our COVID-19 pandemic response.” To join the Red Cross team, con-
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Service Spotlight: The legacy of Tweedy By Geoffrey Morris Stuttgart Citizen volunteer
In a Navy housing unit in Mississippi, a young Mary Knef used to roam around whistling and singing ‘like a bird,’ her mom used to say. Her musical habits earned her the moniker “Tweedy”.
As a child of a Sailor, Tweedy moved around more than the average American. Most of her childhood was spent in Hawaii and California, with San Diego being the answer to the question hated by most military brats, “where are you from?” Although Tweedy spent her childhood on various military installations, she didn’t know the full scope of resources and opportunities that the Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation organization offers to the military community. “Naivete, I guess,” said Tweedy. “It wasn’t until I started to work for [MWR] marketing that I learned the real scope of what they do.” Tweedy began her career with MWR Marketing 15 years ago when she moved to Stuttgart with her husband, who was an active-duty Navy Chief. Prior to that, she was a self-proclaimed stay-at-home spouse, but according to those who know her, that was a joke because Tweedy was never home. She was an avid volunteer who helped regularly in a variety of organizations. She worked nearly full-time on the Carole Kai Bed Race in Hawaii, which raised funds for children with special needs. Tweedy’s work ethic has helped her move up the ranks from her first position in 2006 to her current role as the Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising Manager for WR. In this position, she recruits and works with sponsors like BMW and Service Credit Union to create investment and advertising opportunities within the community, which usually means awesome prizes or funding for big events like the Fourth of July. Although Tweedy is paid for her work now, she still can be found volunteering frequently within the Stuttgart military community. Her children have also joined the proud family tradition of volunteering, or as Tweedy says, being “voluntold” to help out. “Events like Independence Day, those were her days,” said her oldest daughter, Michal Knef. “She goes out to work with these sponsors and the community and we all get to reap the benefits.” Michal enjoyed volunteering alongside her mom and developed an interest that would lead to her own career with MWR, in business operations. The family further dove into the MWR world when Tweedy’s husband retired from the Navy and took a job with Child and Youth Services. Tweedy’s commitment to bettering the community around her has rubbed off on more than just her family. Her supervisor and acting MWR marketing manager, Brittany Mbuyamba, said Tweedy’s attitude and dedication to her job is inspiring. “She is probably one of the most passionate MWR employees I’ve ever met,” said Mbuyamba. “If you have ever wondered where all these amazing prizes are coming from, remember the world of commercial sponsorship and advertising, and the little lady named ‘Tweedy’ who makes it all possible.” 16
Top left: Mary “Tweedy” Knef, joins the MWR marketing team and the POD Squad to raffle prizes during an event in pre-COVID times. Courtesy photo Bottom left: Mary “Tweedy” Knef, second from right, takes part in a promotional event at AFN Stuttgart with retired motocross racer Carey Hart. Courtesy photo
Top right: Mary “Tweedy” Knef delivers a gift to BMW and Mini Military Auto Sales Stuttgart, in appreciation for their sponsorship of garrison events. Courtesy photo Bottom right: Mary “Tweedy” Knef visits with community members at a preCOVID event at the Swabian Special Events Center. Courtesy photo
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The impact of COVID-19 on our environment By Bardia Khajenoori U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
“When the pandemic hit [and restaurant dining rooms were closed], I thought, jeez, Germany’s going to have to really adjust the way they handle carry out and waste,” said Freds, who anticipated increased usage of plastic bags and containers and created a ‘takeout reuse box’ in response. The box contains reusable bags for picking up food, along with a complete dining set sufficient for eating away from home — but composed of reusable or more sustainable components. Freds posted photos and a description of the box contents on a community Facebook page, encouraging others to bring their own bags to pick up meals. She even provided the necessary German phrases for customers to inform restaurants of their intentions. “I thought maybe I can share with people a few things they can do to help limit waste on our end, but also save the restaurants a few bucks,” said Freds. Freds observed that consumers don’t always fully understand the costs involved in providing to-go convenience and that even something as small as German stores charging for bags helps teach that lesson. “There are so many elements of the pandemic which have caused us to reevaluate as we see the packaging build up so often in our little stacks at
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“…jeez, Germany’s going to have to really adjust the way they handle carry out and waste” home,” said Freds. “When we’re back to ‘normal’, what do we want normal to look like? Have we learned anything about how much we’re using, what materials we’re using, and what materials we’re throwing away?” The pandemic offers an opportunity to reconsider these standards, she said. “If people take the time and do that, we might end up actually doing things better once this is all over.”
Background graphic by UvGroup/Shutterstock.com
Erick Posner has noticed a few things during the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting lockdown periods. Things like masks and gloves littering streets and shopping carts. Fewer personal vehicles traveling through Stuttgart city center. The fact that his household was going through more trash and recyclables than before, and how much of that consisted of plastic containers from restaurants, which, for much of the time, have only been allowed to serve meals to-go. As it turns out, Posner’s observations touch on several key aspects of the pandemic’s larger environmental impact — one that has yet to be fully determined. He was one of the millions of people unable to fly regularly for leisure last year, and that collapse in air travel (along with decreased commuting) is reflected in statistics. Global greenhouse gas emissions fell 7% in 2020 compared to the year before, representing the largest decline on record, according to a British study reported by CNBC. The study indicated that the decline was primarily due to a decline in transportation activity related to COVID-19 restrictions and that emissions will likely rebound in 2021. And while one form of pollution decreased, albeit temporarily, another increased dramatically: the marine conservation organization OceansAsia estimated that over 1.5 billion face masks entered oceans in 2020, resulting in an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tons of marine plastic pollution. OceansAsia noted that plastic consumption increased significantly due to the pandemic. “Hygiene concerns and greater reliance on take-away food has led to increased use of plastics, particularly plastic packaging,” said Gary Stokes, the group’s director of operations. “Meanwhile, a number of measures designed to reduce plastic consumption…have been delayed, paused, or rolled back.” One measure that has not been delayed — and in fact, was passed in July 2020, amid the pandemic — is Germany’s ban on single-use plastic products. The new law, which prohibits the sale of certain disposable plastic products like cutlery and plates, as well as polystyrene cups and containers, comes into effect in July 2021. But Mandy Freds, a Stuttgart military spouse with a background in environmental science and a passion for reducing single-use plastic consumption, didn’t need to wait that long.
The Big Question: What has COVID taught you about yourself?
“I learned I really suck at doit-yourself yoga.” Lisa McGuiness
I have learned the following: • It’s the simple things in life that matter most. • What others choose to do, or not do, is not my business. I can control what I do and the choices that I make. Period. I must let go of the rest or sacrifice my own well-being if I choose to resist the differences of others. • There is SO MUCH to be grateful for, no matter how bad things seem. • This too shall pass.... “That I don’t like to be told what to do or what I can do.”
“I do not remember anything about 5th grade math.”
“Lots of patience, not everyone is in the same storm that I am in.”
“How much we miss having friends in our home to celebrate and share with us, but also how very strong our friend network is. We, as a community, can rely on each other when someone needs something like a missing grocery item, a pep talk or a virtual hug.”
“I’m more resilient than I thought.” Alonso J
“To look inwards.” Edwige Damron
“I learned I would probably not survive a zombie apocalypse.”
“That I am glad my husband and I are friends. I have enjoyed the extra time with him.”
“That I am not fear“I realized what less and that health and really matters and family are everything. Hustle not to be caught up in the and bustle and stuff are just everyday hustle, to learn new Joseph Hippert life’s clutter. In the end, you can things and to appreciate all the be jobless, bed less and homeless, hard working people around “How but if you are well and con“I have learned us. Especially in the health expensive ordering nected with those you love, Jen Moore that I will not, in fact, care system.” food in is, and how “That I you’ll get through it.” do those things I always Patricia Poole could easily win often you’ll do it when Dawn Mancini said I’d do if I had time. chopped.” it’s the only “treat” you Because now I have the Cessna Marvel have left.” time and I still don’t do “That I care Paul Hughes them.” much more about the “Lockdown has “I have people David Norton good of the community made a procrastinator in my life who don’t than I thought, and that out of me. I find myself realize it’s ok to not be I don’t have much patience saying “I can do that ok and I need to look out for those who think only of tomorrow, what else am I for them without taking on “Teaching themselves.” going to do,” more often their ‘stuff’.” a nine-year-old Maje Brennan Silver Penny than I care too.” JaNeika Hayes-Prudeaux fractions is the Kim Laliberte-Trevino equivalent to chewing glass.” “I am a “I learned how Nicole Camacho better person to love the hobby’s I without social media and my time with my used to enjoy as a kid. Even though I miss people and son is valuable.” events, I’m a happier person Grasiele Salles Plude because I’m embracing parts of myself long forgotten.” “Humanity is Bethany Hartzell what matters, the rest does not.” “That I can Kelig Neal do with just a few things and I do not “How much I need a lot.” have taken the little “I am not as Silk Foe-lo things, like sitting in introverted and restaurants, going to a happy without human mall and gathering with interactions as I friends, for granted.” thought I was.” Brittany Cuzzo “Even though I am an introvert, I need a certain amount of interaction with people.”