Stuttgart community honors fallen warriors

Memorial Day 2017

Stuttgart High School JROTC Color Guard posted colors at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Memorial Day Ceremony May 29 at Washington Square on Patch Barracks.

Story and photos by Kevin S. Abel

During a Memorial Day ceremony at Washington Square on Patch Barracks May 29, the Stuttgart Military Community paid respect and honor to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The presence of the uniformed members of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10810, American Legion Post 6 and the Stuttgart High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) helped show the diversity of this unified community and the level of respect it has for its fallen warriors.

“We commemorate Memorial Day to honor those service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Sgt. Tyler J. Johnson, AFRICOM and American Legion Post 6 commander, who served as master of ceremonies.

“It is an honor to join you today as we remember those Americans from every generation who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said guest speaker Rear Adm. Frank D. Whitworth, AFRICOM Director of Intelligence. “Today we also honor the sacrifices made by our partners and allies who fought across the European theater and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with us.”

“We’re thankful for the service and sacrifice of our family members who have made it, or make it possible for their loved ones in uniform to serve,” Whitworth said.

“Memorial Day is an occasion when we respectfully remember those who fought and died, whose lives were painfully cut short. Memorial Day, also an occasion we celebrate the security and freedom we enjoy,” Whitworth said.  “We remember just how fortunate we are as Americans because of those who have gone before us and the men and women who step forward and serve now.”

Whitworth added that there are so many profiles of courage that could be discussed and episodes in history that steal the soul and bring pride and motivation. He reflected on the sacrifice by Chief Warrant Officer Douglas Vose III, who died from wounds received while conducting combat operations in the Kabul Province of Afghanistan on July 29, 2009 while serving as the Assistant Detachment Commander of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 0114, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Memorial Day 2017

Rear Adm. Frank D. Whitworth, U.S. Africa Command Director of Intelligence (J2), was the guest speaker at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany – USAG Stuttgart Memorial Day Ceremony.

“While this may be my last Memorial Day ceremony in Stuttgart, what we have done as a community will continue to lead on,” said Col. Glenn K. Dickenson, Stuttgart Garrison Commander.  “As a community we will continue to honor the fallen, and the great sacrifice they gave for us to live in a free nation.”For some, this will be one of many Memorial Day ceremonies they will participate in during their time in the community, but for one it was his last.

The day originally known as “Decoration Day” gradually changed to “Memorial Day,” which was first used in 1882 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. After World War I it was known as a day of remembrance for all Americans who died fighting in any war.

Memorial Day did not become the more common name until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. In 1971 Congress declared the last Monday in May as the federal Memorial Day holiday.

To honor the fallen, wreaths were presented by representatives of AFRICOM, American Legion Post 6, VFW Post 10801, Association of the U.S. Army and Stuttgart Clan of Motorcycle Enthusiasts.

After the bugler played Taps, the benediction presented by Chaplain (Maj.) Lucilio Mizerani, and the SHS JROTC retired the colors, Johnson closed the ceremony with a sobering thought about the day’s true meaning.

Today is not a holiday, it’s a day of remembrance. If you want to know the true meaning of Memorial Day, visit Arlington Cemetery.


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Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate Program (DAVA)

The Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate (DAVA) provides comprehensive support services to adult victims of domestic abuse including: crisis intervention, safety planning, help obtaining medical treatment for injuries, information on legal rights and proceedings, referral to military and civilian shelters, and other resources.

DAVA’s provide information so clients can make informed choices in reporting an assault and how they choose to proceed.  DAVA’s are available to accompany adult clients to medical visits, court proceedings, and other appointments as requested. DAVA’s provide services 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.  Victims are not alone, help and support are available.

Military Video

Pet ownership comes with responsibilities

Story by Kevin S. Abel

If you are considering taking a dog, cat or any other pet into your life, think seriously about the responsibility and commitment that owning a pet entails, it’s not just a privilege to be enjoyed for a short period of time.

Recognize and be prepared to commit to a lifelong relationship with your pet. “Choose a pet that fits your life style appropriately,” said Jessie Bryant, veterinarian, Stuttgart Veterinary Treatment Facility. “Think about your future, they could be with you after your kids leave for college.”

Bringing pets to Germany and the installation requires pets be current on their vaccinations, and be microchipped with a German ISO compatible 15-digit chip. Upon arrival you are required to get your pets registered at the Stuttgart Veterinary Treatment Facility.

The microchip allows your pet to be identified if it becomes lost. This chip can also be registered though a website called Tasso. Tasso is a central registration hub for all pets in Germany and is completely free to register your pet. The Tasso foundation is run by donations so be kind when it comes to donating, because they will help find your lost pet. Their website to sign up in English is

Owners have the responsibility for their pet’s health. Bryant recommends that you have a checkup once a year to maintain your animal’s health and provide the necessary preventative care including vaccinations, parasite control and dental care. Some vaccinations needed are given annually, while some are given every three years.

Restrictions and responsibilities

In addition to the vaccination and microchip requirements, residents on the installations may own no more than two dogs or cats, in any combination, per household.

Other domestic pets, including birds, goldfish, and hamsters, may be kept in family housing, however exotic pets, like snakes, are prohibited. Breeds that are not allowed to be imported into Germany may not be kept in Army Family Housing (AFH).

Building Coordinators may designate pet walk areas that building residents who are pet owners will be responsible for maintaining. Dogs and cats must not be allowed to relieve themselves on balconies, playgrounds, or within 50 feet of family housing buildings. Pet owners are required to immediately clean up excrement from their pets and dispose of it properly.

Repeat offenders may face harsh disciplinary action that could include loss of pet privileges, removal from Army Family Housing at the occupants expense or UCMJ action(s) deemed appropriate by the Garrison Commander.

A health and welfare inspection may be conducted on any AFH unit alleged by complaint to be substandard in cleanliness, smell, or where a pet has apparently been abandoned.

Pets must not be left unattended in quarters for more than 12 hours. During these times arrangements must be made for the care of pets to ensure they have adequate food, water and walks so it can relieve itself.

At no time are pets allowed to be on balconies unattended, housed or locked in basements or storerooms, kept in fenced playgrounds, or tied to stair railings, radiators, pipes, shrubbery, or trees. Breeding pets and the construction and maintenance of kennel type operations are prohibited in Government controlled housing.

Pet owners residing in AFH are subject to host nation (HN) laws governing the treatment of pets. HN law and Army in Europe policy prohibit inhumane and abusive treatment of animals. Inhumane and abusive treatment is defined as any act or omission whereby an animal’s physical or psychological wellbeing is compromised unnecessarily.

Sponsors and their spouses are responsible to ensure that pets are controlled so they do not become a public nuisance or menace.

“Pets must be kept under control at all times and kept on a leash when outside,” said Ricky Hernandez, USAG Stuttgart Military Housing. “They are not permitted in playgrounds or sports fields at anytime.” Hernandez said that these regulations were put in place to protect both animals and residents on the installation.


If a pet bites, scratches or becomes aggressive to a human, it should be reported to the military police. Complaints of improper control of pets and incidents where pets bite, scratch or become aggressive will be investigated and when appropriate, reported to the garrison commander for action.

The offending animal is subject to a physical examination, quarantine and possible removal from AFH, regardless of the absence of prior incidents.

Owners who abandon their pets are subject to action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or HN law and are responsible for all costs incurred by the Government on the transfer, care, custody, and final disposition of the animal.

Pet ownership is not something to be entered into lightly. Owning a pet is a long-term emotional, financial and time commitment. Decide if it is right for you by making an honest assessment as to whether your home and family are ready.


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Country music singer Ayla Brown marks her fourth trip entertaining service members overseas in Stuttgart


Younger members of the Stuttgart Military Community dance in front of the stage as Country music singer Ayla Brown, American Idol season 5 contestant, performs her last song during the Armed Forces Entertainment concert.

Story and photos by Kevin S. Abel

Armed Forces Entertainment has joined forces with Country Music singer Ayla Brown and Hope for the Day motivational speakers Shayla Rivera and Jonny Boucher to raise awareness during National Suicide Prevention Month.

Hope For The Day’s vision is to bring communities together in order to shed light on the unfortunate topics of depression and suicide, while reducing suicide rates, inspiring and empowering those who need help, to get help.29369798216_8a4f0ab307_k

Their wish is to share the deeply personal connection creativity can have in fostering an environment of positive change to the suffering.

They view art and music as a highway to the heart; two things that have allowed humanity to express our emotions for millennia.

Ayla Brown is an American country music recording artist and a contestant on American Idol, season 5 in 2006 , she placed in the top 16. Shortly after the season’s conclusion, Brown attended Boston College on a full basketball scholarship, and graduated in 2010 with a communications degree.

She is the sixth leading scorer in Massachusetts basketball history, male or female, a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year, and was named the top female basketball player in Massachusetts.

Recognized as a pioneer and entrepreneur, Brown founded and owns her own record company, Ambient Entertainment.28780076234_3b8f3feae9_k

Having a keen eye for business and building mutually successful partnerships, Brown enjoys outstanding corporate relationships with the likes of Hilton Hotels, Texas Roadhouse and Concerned Veterans For America.

Brown has performed overseas three times, before her current tour that brought her to Stuttgart, to American troops in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

In November of 2012, Ayla released her second album Heroes & Hometowns and achieved a life-long dream of performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.

Since the album’s release, Heroes & Hometowns has peaked at number one on Amazon MP3 and number 51 on iTunes. Every member of the Stuttgart Military Community that attended the concert was treated to this album autographed by Brown.


Published Sept. 8, 2016 in the Stuttgart Citizen

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Olympians help Stuttgart Piranhas perfect swim strokes

Aaron.jpgOlympic athlete Aaron Peirsol races the length of the pool at the Maichingen Gartenhallenbad in Sindelfingen, Germany, May 21 against swimmers of the Stuttgart Piranhas to finish out a day of drills and training.

Story and photos by Kevin S. Abel

Olympic athletes Aaron Peirsol and Kim Vandenberg visited Sindelfingen on Saturday, May 21, for a swim clinic to help Stuttgart Piranhas improve their swimming stokes and get ready for swim season, which runs from August through February.

The clinic featured two sessions that allowed the Olympians to teach in a small group settings, maximizing the time spent with each swimmer.

During the clinic, the Olympians focused on favorite drills that helped them throughout their career to become a faster swimmer. “As a coach, I learned some new drills that will benefit our swimmers,” said Andrea Symak, head coach, Stuttgart Piranhas. “I think overall our team was thrilled to have Aaron Peirsol and Kim Vandenberg here to instruct.”

Peirsol is a three-time Olympian and seven-time Olympic medalist, earning five gold and two silver medals. He currently holds the world record in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke and the 4×100-meter medley relay.

Vandenberg who is a butterfly swimmer, was a member of the bronze-medal-winning U.S. team in the  women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“These kids are at the age that both Aaron and I started swimming,” said Vandenberg. “When I was their age, I looked up to the Olympic athletes, so for me it’s so important to give back to the community.” Adding that she, “find(s) that a lot of younger swimmers doubt their abilities; you must believe in yourself and your abilities.”

The day started with the younger swimmers getting their chance in the pool and two hours of training to help improve the foundations of the backstroke and butterfly. The afternoon training session allowed the seasoned swimmers to take a moment to get to know the Olympians and their training regiments. “It is interesting to know their favorite drills to correct technique, what type of sets they like to work on and their approach to teach different age groups,” said Symak.

“The best thing about the Olympians being with us was when each one of us had the chance to interact with Peirsol and Vandenberg, personally, all throughout the clinics,” said Annelise Meyer, senior swimmer, Stuttgart Piranhas. “A few of us have had other opportunities to meet Peirsol and Vandenberg long before this clinic. I was coached by Peirsol at the University of Texas swim camp when I was nine years old, and it was really cool to interact with him once again.”

To round out the clinic the Stuttgart Piranhas’ swimmers had the opportunity to race the Olympians in their choice of strokes.

“It was an awesome privilege to have Aaron Peirsol and Kim Vandenberg here conducting a clinic for the Piranhas in Germany,” said Meyer. “We don’t have the same opportunities to attend swim clinics as other swimmers do in the United States, it was a very exciting and unforgettable experience.”

The Stuttgart Piranhas are an international youth swim team open to swimmers in the Stuttgart area, representing the United States and the Stuttgart Community.

The team is part of the European Forces Swim League, competing in swim meets around Europe including Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium.

For more information on the Stuttgart Piranhas or to register contact registrar@ To view more photos from the swim clinic visit our Flickr site at stuttgartpiranhas

olympic-dtPublished June 2, 2016 in the Stuttgart Citizen
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Circus celebrates military children

Child, Youth and School Services celebrate Month of the Military Child with Circus Finale.


Story and Photos by Kevin S. Abel

April was “Month of the Military Child,” which began in 1986. Established by the Secretary of Defense, this designation was enacted to underscore the important role that children play in the military community as well as recognize and commend families for the sacrifices they make every day to support our country.

In honor of Month of the Military Child the Stuttgart Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS), teamed with various partners in the Stuttgart Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation to recognize the sacrifices and applaud the courage of military children with events throughout the month.

“This month is about recognizing and Circus Finaleshowing appreciation for our military children,” said Col. Glenn K. Dickenson, Garrison Commander. “The strength of our service members comes from knowing their families are part of a community that will be there for them.”

More than 2 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military. It is estimated the U.S. Army has more than 900,000 military children with one or both parents having deployed multiple times.

Garrisons around the world hold celebrations designed to recognize the sacrifices military children make and the support they provide to their Soldier-parent(s) and families.

Here in the Stuttgart community, those events started with a CYSS bubble launch, Strike Out Child Abuse event at Galaxy Bowling and Entertainment Center, Wizard of Oz themed lock in at Patch School Age Center (SAC), a special movie showing and a youth flea market plus a few other events.

The culminating event was a Circus Finale filled with Tricks and Illusion performances by Merz and Pillini, Child, Youth and School Services sponsored games, bounce house, bungee tower and super-slide held on Husky Field.

“It is really important to host an event for the community celebrating the Month of the Military Child,” said Jamie Ruffini, CYS Coordinator. “ is free event allows the entire community to come together and celebrate all of our children.”

School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills (SKIES) Extracurricular Instructional Ballet class hosted by CYSS also conducted a performance as part of the entertainment. For more information on the programs that CYSS offers the community from recreation to leisure activities contact the Family MWR at http://stuttgart.

momc-dtPublished in the May 5, 2016 Edition of the Stuttgart Citizen.
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