President makes stop at Ramstein Air Base
By Airman 1st Class Alexandria Mosness, 435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 05, 2009
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- President Barack Obama passed through Ramstein Air Base on his way to spending some time with wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, June 5.
The president's visit was his first to the hospital since coming into office. The visit to LRMC was closed to the public and media, as President Obama met with wounded warriors there.
Known as the Gateway to Europe, Ramstein stood ready to welcome the president.
"The Kaiserslautern Military Community is the largest American community outside the U.S., and it a privilege to show him our great base," said Col. Don Bacon, 435th Air Base Wing commander. "Ramstein has many important and different missions that we support here. Ramstein is a key strategic operation for Europe, and it shows by the president coming here."
Preparation for the presidential visit started May 29, and has been a top priority for all security forces members, said Capt. Keith Quick, 435th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.
"We have increased random antiterrorism measures and have been working closely with the president's Secret Service agents for the visit," Captain Quick said. "Along with working close with the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron and local Polizei, we have also increased our security manning at both Ramstein and LRMC."
Although the main purpose of the presidential trip was to visit wounded at the hospital, 12 Ramstein Airmen received the chance to meet the president.
"It is such a great experience to meet our commander-in-chief," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Thompson, 86th Maintenance Operation Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of maintenance data systems analysis. "It is not every day you get to meet a president; and I feel extremely lucky to be one of the Airmen he met today."
While President Obama was on a tight schedule, he did not let this stop him from getting to know some of the Airmen.
"He stopped, chatted and took a picture with a group of the Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Damian Washington, 435th Civil Engineer Squadron unaccompanied housing manager. "There's nothing more rewarding than meeting our current commander-in-chief. Being able to have my photo taken with him and ask a few questions has really motivated me to continue to strive for the goals we are after as a nation."
With all the hard work and long hours that were put it to host the president, it was all worth it in the end, said Colonel Bacon.
"I am grateful for all the hard work our Airmen did to host our president," he said. "Hundreds of people, from security forces to the host nations, prepared to make this trip a success. We are honored to have President Obama see what we do at Ramstein."