Stuttgart Soldier’s Fest, What a Wonderful Experience!

September 30, 2010

Tywanna Sparks, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs Office wrote

Pride, camaraderie, and awe-inspiring are all words I use to describe my experience attending this year’s Soldier’s Fest during the Stuttgart Beer Festival in Badd Cannstatt. I was elated to see Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen from the Stuttgart military community, along with their German and French counterparts celebrating together.

I must admit I was a little apprehensive and thought there was no way I would possibly enjoy myself. I just imagined myself as the only civilian in a sea of military personnel with no real connection to the festivities. I was so wrong.

Luckily I arrived to the fairgrounds just in time to see U.S. military personnel exit the bus and fill into the parking lot. They filed into formation and when “right face” was called, I could have sworn I saw onlookers come to attention. I was proud to see our military marching and calling cadence in unison; they literally stopped traffic in the streets. We were the only military to announce our arrival and no other military came close.

In the beginning U.S., French, and German military were grouped into different sections. It was easy to distinguish who was who until the band played and the food was served. Everyone began to toast, mingle and trade service uniform items. The band sang songs in German and English that everyone could sing to. Even though there was an obvious language barrier, the true definition of camaraderie was evident – a spirit of familiarity and trust existing between friends. Even I couldn’t resist the urge to participate; I was singing, dancing, and standing on tables along with everyone else.

All I can say is I’m fortunate I had the opportunity to experience this. I was able to see our host nation’s appreciation for the international military community. I witnessed all military personnel celebrating in a safe environment without any incidents. It is an experience I will never forget.

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