Cablegate: Hesse Hosts Large Event for Oif/Oef Military

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Hesse Hosts Large Event for OIF/OEF Military

1. SUMMARY: The state of Hesse recently hosted a day of
appreciation for 2200 U.S. military and family members -- in
particular families of those deployed to Iraq and
Afghanistan -- in the most recent expression of Hesse's
desire to be a good host for U.S. forces. END SUMMARY.

2. On June 24, the Ambassador attended a large picnic
hosted by Hesse Minister-President Roland Koch (CDU) for
families of deployed soldiers stationed in Hesse. More than
2,200 soldiers and family members (including approx. 700
children) enjoyed an afternoon of fun and food at the
historic Hessenpark. The state originally targeted families
of 1st Armored Division soldiers still deployed in Iraq, but
expanded it to all soldiers and their families (including
those living in nearby Rheinland-Pfalz and Mannheim
installations). German and American sponsors chipped in to
provide food and activities such as basketball and football
clinics by German professional teams. About 60% of the
estimated EUR 90,000 cost was covered by donations.

3. Hesse M-P Koch, who spent almost three hours at the
event, gave an opening speech (to rousing applause)
recognizing the sacrifice of U.S. soldiers and their
families and declaring that the state would always welcome
them. The Ambassador thanked the state of Hesse and M-P
Koch for this latest gesture of support. Mrs. Deanie
Dempsey (wife of deployed 1AD Commander Maj. General Martin
Dempsey) spoke on behalf of families.

4. COMMENT: Regional newspapers gave very positive
coverage to the event, the latest expression of Hesse's
efforts to be seen as a welcoming host for American forces.


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