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50 years of partnership: Fort Rucker, German Liaison celebrate anniversary

Col. Robert C. Doerer, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and chief of staff, speaks during the 50th Anniversary Ceremony of the German Liaison Officer Program at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Oct. 30. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Col. Robert C. Doerer, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and chief of staff, speaks during the 50th Anniversary Ceremony of the German Liaison Officer Program at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Oct. 30. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: November 7, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 7, 2014) -- As two German Aviators received their wings during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker paid tribute to a relationship 50 years in the making.

The German Liaison Officer Program celebrated its 50th anniversary at Fort Rucker Oct. 30, serving to foster the relationship between two nations and train Soldiers in not only flight training, but relationship building.

Col. Robert. C. Doerer, U.S Army Aviation Center of Excellence chief of staff, spoke during the ceremony and said the relationship between nations is crucial to remaining Army strong.

“As we all know, the United States enjoys vibrant partnerships with our partner countries where we advance multiple common interests around the world,” said the USAACE chief of staff. “Our ally, Germany, is today and will continue to be one of America’s strongest partners, and our relationship with (them) is no longer simply bilateral, but is multilateral and multidimensional, reflecting the intersecting political, economic, social and cultural realities of the 21st century in which global security is truly dependent.”

As part of that relationship building, the Army Foreign Liaison Officer Program was created many years ago, and fosters cooperation and mutual understanding between the U.S. Army and the armies of partner nations across the globe, said Doerer.

In 1956, the first German flight students were sent to Fort Rucker for flight training, which would be the precursor to the German Liaison Officer Program, which was created in 1964. Since then, nearly 2,500 German students have participated in 14 different courses on the installation.

“For our nations, these 50 years of working together bring a common bond of commitments to one another,” said the USAACE chief of staff. “For our military, the German Liaison Officer Program in the last 50 years has helped to shape a common basis for military operations, standardization, training and safety, forging the experiences that we’ve had and will have in the future. Our strong relationship has also strengthened the trust between our nations and militaries in times of conflict.”

A true benefit and bonus of the liaison program goes beyond the impacts that the two nations and militaries have, said Doerer, and extends to creating strong bonds between German liaison families and the local communities here in the Wiregrass.

That bond and relationship is ever-present and visible through the graduation of German soldiers from the various training programs throughout Fort Rucker, said Col. Joachim W. Bohn, German Armed Forces Command for United States and Canada commander.

“Today (Oct. 30), two German flight students graduated and received their American Aviator wings, and yesterday (Oct. 29), two German officers graduated from the Captains Career Course,” he said. “This is a visible sign of our good military relationship and cooperation in the area of training and knowledge.

“For every student … who is trained here, it is a real privilege to come over here and adventure into the unknown,” he continued. “It is a big step for a young soldier to leave their friends and family in Germany to live and learn for several months more than 4,000 miles away from their home.”

When first arriving to the Fort Rucker area, Bohn said the first thing that became apparent to him was the hospitality of the Wiregrass people that he had heard so much about, and that’s when it was clear to him that his soldiers were in good hands.

“The hospitality of the people at Fort Rucker, the surrounding communities and the whole Wiregrass area is as huge as your great country,” he said. “I am more than pleased and thankful to see all of our personnel so well integrated into the social life here and being taken care of outstandingly.”

Although the celebration was meant to commemorate the last 50 years, Doerer said it’s the future he’s looking toward.

“I’m grateful to have been able to be part of this, having spent 10 years of my life in Germany,” he said. “Your German liaison team is the perfect representatives of the past 50 years of German liaison teams, and it’s also the perfect representative of the next 50 years.”

This article was originally published at

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