Admiral Stavridis visits fellow air defenders in Kaiserslautern

By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern
Dec. 16, 2010

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, spends the afternoon of Dec. 13 with Soldiers from the 357th Air & Missile Defense Detachment on Rhine Ordinance Barracks. Soldiers showed Stavridis the unit's patriot missile. (U.S. Army photo by Rick Scavetta)
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, spends the afternoon of Dec. 13 with Soldiers from the 357th Air & Missile Defense Detachment on Rhine Ordinance Barracks. Soldiers showed Stavridis the unit's patriot missile. (U.S. Army photo by Rick Scavetta)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Soldiers from the 357th Air & Missile Defense Detachment welcomed the U.S. military’s senior officer in Europe to their headquarters Dec. 13 on Rhine Ordinance Barracks.

Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, spent the afternoon with Soldiers. After lunch at the Patriot Garden Dining Facility, Stavridis got a closer look at the unit’s patriot missile batteries and presided over an awards ceremony.

Stavridis commended the air defenders for their recent deployments to Israel and Poland. The unit will also be part of NATO’s future missile defense system in Europe, which was part of senior-level discussions recently at the Lisbon NATO summit, he said. Providing air defense creates stability and lessens the likelihood of conflicts, Stavridis said.

“You are doing a terrific job of reassuring our friends and allies,” Stavridis said.

Over the past six months, the command’s Patriot batteries also underwent major equipment upgrades and brigade staff took part in training, said Col. Anthony English, the 357th AMD-D commander.

“It’s truly an honor for Admiral Stavridis to come see our Soldiers,” English said. “It tells us what we’re doing is important.”

The visit was admiral’s second stop within U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern. Earlier, Stavridis visited with troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. He also took part in a U.S. Air Forces Europe change of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base.

The two-day trip allowed Stavridis the opportunity to meet with a variety of troops under his command. After his visit in Kaiserslautern, he visited the U.S. Navy in Sigonella, Sicily and the U.S. Air Force in Aviano, Italy.

But his visit to U.S. Army Europe’s brigade-level air defense unit was a stop he truly enjoyed making, he said. Stavridis, who served on U.S. Navy AEGIS ships, is also an “air defender,” he told Soldiers gathered for informal talks.

“I think of you as shipmates of mine,” Stavridis said. “To all of you I say, well done.”