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Youngstown hosts German military reserve officers

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr.
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Two German air force reserve officers visited here in June to exchange ideas and experiences with their U.S. Air Force Reserve counterparts in the 910th Airlift Wing.

Lt. Col. Stefan Bernreider and Lt. Col. Patrick Hofmann toured Youngstown Air Reserve Station June 12-26 as part of the Department of Defense Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program.

In addition to learning about the 910th's overall mission, Colonel Bernreider worked in his career field as a judge advocate. Colonel Hofmann had the chance to work in his career field of public affairs. They delivered a briefing about the German Military Reserve to the senior leaders at Youngstown ARS.

One of the highlights of their trip was a firefighting demonstration by the 910th Civil Engineer Fire Department June 17.

In addition to visiting the station, the colonels went sightseeing, taking in the Mahoning Valley Scrappers minor league baseball team home opener, the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Niagara Falls, N.Y., area.

"This is a great opportunity to enhance international relations and gain experience from foreign officers," said Capt. Christopher Brown, a pilot with Youngstown's 773rd Airlift Squadron, who acted as a host base escort for the visiting officers during their stay.

Captain Brown said the 910th is hoping to send officers to a German C-130 unit as part of the program in the near future.

The primary purpose of DOD's Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program is to provide National Guard and Reserve officers training associated with mobilization duties while enhancing their ability to work and communicate with the military individuals of the host nation.

Reservists participating in the exchange program receive valuable training, which they are able to share with their home units. They gain an appreciation of allied reserve forces, which facilitates an effective working relationship with those forces upon mobilization. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs) oversees the exchange program, which began in 1985.