A delegation of the German Armed Forces Command, USA and Canada visited the South Carolina National Guard in Columbia from March 14-17, 2019 to support the good relations with their American partners. As in the preceding years, the visit was centered around obtaining the German Armed Forces Proficiency and Marksmanship Badges.
One highlight of the event, although also a challenge due to strong turbulence, was the flight in a CH47 helicopter of the U.S. Army, which transported the twelve German soldiers from Washington International Airport Dulles to Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, on their way to the McCrady Training Center.
Physical fitness as part of military routine
The participating soldiers from South Carolina took the German basic fitness test (BFT) and subsequently the swimming in uniform test, both of which were organized by the soldiers of the German Armed Forces Command, USA and Canada.
At the start of the final day, all participants set off on a joint 7-mile ruck march, to be completed in 120 minutes while carrying a 33-pound rucksack.
The year 2018 has been eventful and rewarding. Let’s reflect on a few highlights!
Early in the year, Germany participated in the Winter Olympics, coming in second with a total of 31 medals! In March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was sworn in for a fourth term, along with a new government. In April, the Chancellor visited Washington, D.C. for meetings with US President Donald Trump. In June, we welcomed our new Ambassador, Emily Haber, to Washington, where she serves as the German Embassy’s first female ambassador! Throughout the year, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift – a turning point in the German-American relationship. In October, we launched the start of Wunderbar Together, a year-long celebration of German-American friendship with over 1,000 events across the US. A highlight of this initiative was a stunt by a German slackliner from One Inch Dreams, who walked across a highline between two hot air balloons over Monument Valley.
We know next year will be just as busy, with hundreds more events taking place across the US for Wunderbar Together. Next year, we will celebrate 100 years of Bauhaus, the famous art school that opened in Weimar in 1919. We will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – a monumental day in German history.
We wish you a Happy New Year and a great start to 2019!
What symbolizes the friendship of two nations better than a bridge between them? A slackliner walking across a highline between two hot air balloons, one featuring the German flag and the other the American flag.
This crazy idea — that may cause many to shudder just thinking about — was made possible last week over the mountains of Monument Valley along the Arizona-Utah border. Niklas Winter, a German athlete for slacklining group One Inch Dreams, braved the 33-foot walk at 1,640 feet in the air, looking down at the red desert sand of the Navajo Nation Reservation. After days of unpredictable and difficult weather conditions that delayed the stunt, the forecast finally cooperated, making the feat possible on October 25. With the help of a dedicated team — including Utah State Senator and balloon pilot Curt Bramble — and local support on the ground, Winter successfully walked across the highline.
The stunt is a testament to the strong ties between our two countries. Many new bonds have been forged during this project, and friendships developed in new areas and with new communities in the U.S. The project evinces the heights we can reach together. As we face shared challenges, we must build more and stronger bridges between our people.
This venture is part of Wunderbar Together. For an entire year, we are celebrating the German-American friendship with over 1,000 events throughout the U.S. We will paint a picture of everything our relations stand for in an array of topics including science, the arts, culture, language, business and of course sports. We’re excited for what other thrilling events are yet to come. Stay tuned!
Four-time break-dance world champions the Flying Steps held a special performance at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to kick-start our year-long campaign, Wunderbar Together – a celebration of the German-American friendship.
The B-Boy crew, which has been around since 1993, combined break-dancing with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach for a one-of-a-kind performance in the nation’s capital.
The show took place during the opening week of our Wunderbar Together campaign, which celebrates the transatlantic partnership between the US and Germany through dialogue, experience and exchange.
The Flying Steps crew was formed by Vartan Bassil and Kadir „Amigo” Memis in Berlin, Germany. Currently the group consists of nine members. In 2007, the group established the Flying Steps Academy, which is the largest urban dance school in Germany. The group is currently on tour in the US.
Last week, we received a very special message from space. German astronaut Alexander Gerst – the first German to command the International Space Station – sent a message to earth to announce our year-long campaign, “Wunderbar Together”.
This campaign will celebrate the German-American friendship with over 1,000 events throughout the US. And Gerst made an important point: the German-American relationship is not only important on earth, but also in space!
“Because only together can we solve the great challenges ahead of us,” he says. “A strong relationship between both sides of the Atlantic Ocean is fundamental for a successful cooperation – both on earth and in space. Our lives up here on the International Space Station depend on international cooperation beyond our borders.”