USAREUR Band and Chorus commander receives German military award

By Sgt. Joel Salgado, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Sept. 16, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Lt. Col. Beth T.M. Steele, the commander of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, was awarded a high-ranking German military decoration at a ceremony on Campbell Barracks Sept. 15.

Col. Franz Dirksen, the German Liaison Officer to USAREUR, presented Steele with the Silver Cross of Honor of the Bundeswehr for her exceptional service as the USAREUR Band and Chorus commander, and for strengthening relations between the U.S. Army in Europe and the German community.

"It's a great honor for me to receive the Silver Cross of Honor, but the credit really belongs to the Soldiers of the USAREUR Band and Chorus who are such tremendous musical ambassadors throughout Europe every day," Steele said.

Dirksen said the award was given in appreciation of Steele’s commitment to cultivating and promoting the partnership between the United States and Germany, and her outstanding cooperation with German military and civilian organizations.

“With Lt. Col. Beth Steele, you particularly feel how near and dear U.S.-German relations are to her,” said Dirksen.

Steele has been the commander of the USAREUR Band and Chorus since June 2008, conducting many ceremonies, presentations and concerts for the U.S. Army in Europe, the German military, and publics throughout Europe.

“Together with the members of her brilliant band and chorus, she substantially contributes to the cultural enrichment for the people in and around Heidelberg and beyond,” said Dirksen.

Because of Steele’s efforts as commander and musical director, the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus do not only represent the U.S. Army during their public performances but also function as international ambassadors for German-American friendship, said Dirksen.