With a handover roll call on the eisenhowerplatz of the rhoen barracks on wednesday, responsibility for the training area passed from major gordon stutz to lieutenant colonel kai schulze. "The military training area is worth promoting and developing", said the outgoing commander at the beginning of the ceremony. He moves to the bavarian state command in munich.
Lieutenant colonel roman jahnel, commander of the south training area command, led the change of commanders. Beforehand, he looked back on the development of the past years. The bundeswehr has been working to modernize its training ranges since 2017. "The wildflecken training area plays a special role here", said jahnel. The site is centrally located in the middle of germany and offers training opportunities "that you don’t find anywhere else."
Modernization of the training areas
Gordon stutz initiated significant renewal measures during his time as commander. In the rhon, snipers now practice on a specially designed firing range. Previously, the soldiers had had to travel all the way to austria for it. Jahnel praised his "extraordinary readiness for action" and made it clear that soldiers are often not allowed to reap the rewards of their efforts themselves. The succeeding commander kai schulze will now continue this process. He is no stranger to the rhoen barracks (see info below). "For me it is like coming home, back to the rhon", he said later at the reception.
During the ceremony, the commander honored two soldiers: daniel benkert was promoted to first lieutenant. In addition, jahnel expressed his appreciation to him, because he had also taken over the planning and organization of the equipment for the area of military training area command south as an infrastructure officer. The new commander kai schulze received the operational medal of the lithuanian armed forces. Schulze had been involved as a firearms safety officer within the framework of NATO’s enhanced forward presence. This assistance initiative serves to secure the military alliance’s eastern flank as well as deter russia in the wake of the crimea crisis.
Lap of honor in the tank
At the end gordon stutz turned in the tank of a lap of honor on the place. Afterwards the guests met for a reception. Traditionally, the mayor of wildflecken, gerd kleinhenz (PWW), presented the outgoing commander with "wildflecken’s last cow" – a photograph documenting the end of agriculture in the rhon community. With stutz he had "always communicated at eye level" kleinhenz said and wished the new commander a good start.
Also on wednesday, dorothee bar (CSU), member of the german bundestag for the bad kissingen district, announced that the bundeswehr is investing a further five million euros in the rhon barracks. The money is to benefit the new construction of the fire station.
Major gordon stutz took command of the wildflecken military training area in april 2016. During this time, he was also involved in the realignment of the shooting lanes, a long-term project that will still occupy his successors. Gordon stutz served four tours of duty in afghanistan. From january, he will be deployed to mali for several months. Afterwards, he will be responsible for the ammunition and shooting safety of the military training areas as a safety engineer at the bavarian state command in munich.
Lieutenant colonel kai schulze was already once stationed in wildflecken, namely on the duty post of the senior officer at that time. Among other things, he was an officer with the mountain tank artillery battalion in fussen and later changed troop type to devote himself to maintenance, explosive ordnance disposal and gunnery safety. Since september 2017, schulze reinforced the wildflecken military training area as a reserve service member permanently.