The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany hosted 250 guests to observe German Armed Forces Day. Celebrated annually, the day recognizes the sacrifices made and services provided around the world by the nearly 178,000 soldiers currently serving in the German Bundeswehr. Every day, these German soldiers make enormous contributions to ensuring peace and prosperity, be it refugee assistance in the Mediterranean, supporting the fight against terror or many other undertakings as part of the NATO and EU mission.
Germany joins 27 other countries as a member of NATO. It’s military currently serves in 17 missions across the globe and had a budget of $35.8 billion in 2016, making it the 9th largest defense budget worldwide. Germany has a presence in Mali, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan among others. They also work together alongside the U.S. Army on Enhanced Forward Presence, an allied, forward deployed defense meant to reassure NATO's Eastern member states of their security following Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine.
Germany and the United States also have a very special military relationship outside of missions. The United States has 17 bases in Germany with Kaiserlautern being the largest—forming a community of 44,513 Americans, over 14,000 of which are American soldiers. According to a report by Germany Trade and Invest, since the Second World War, 17 million Americans and their families have been stationed in Germany with the armed forces.
Ample Opportunities in the Bundeswehr
German Armed Forces Day presents the opportunity to highlight not only the personal stories of lives touched by German soldiers but also how soldiers have benefited from their time in the Bundeswehr. Among the audience were some of the 1,639 German soldiers stationed in the United States who spoke enthusiastically about the international relationships and diverse skill sets they have built during their time in the Bundeswehr. One Lieutenant commented, “"In almost no other profession would it be possible to take on so much responsibility as a young person. Already at 20 years old, I'd learned what it meant to take responsibility for the lives of others, including my fellow soldiers, and to make quick decisions in times of difficulty."
Celebration at the Ambassador’s Residence
“We know that our security is best served by responsibly shaping security policy together– with a strong NATO and a capable Europe. Germany stands for reliability and loyalty to its allies, and so does the Bundeswehr,” said Ambassador Wittig to honored guests in his residence. This year’s German Armed Forces Day brought together military members from the United States and Germany to emphasize that today’s problems, military or otherwise, requires cooperation and collaboration between our nations. “Neither Germany nor even the US as the leading world power will be able to tackle today’s global crises alone.”
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