Pride swells as flags are lowered at a favorite NATO headquarters

Article by Maj. Peter Mientus

Allied Air Command Ramstein

Colorful national flags from across NATO, the NATO flag and the headquarters flag were lowered in a ceremony at Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany, March 27.

The lowering of the flags symbolized the countries’ membership with Allied Force Command Heidelberg (HQ FCHD) and the ending of their time here.

“The part assigned to me is to lower these flags, which, if there be no fault in the machinery, we will do, and when down, it will be for the nations to raise them back up,” said LTG John W. Morgan III, the commanding general, presiding over the ceremony.

It was a final official act before Allied Force Command Heidelberg closes at the end of March.

The headquarters conducted its deactivation ceremony, on March 14.

Member country flags were from Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

Noncommissioned Officers from all contributing nations lowered the flags.

“I’m very proud to lower my own country’s flag here in Heidelberg. But it’s also a sad day for me seeing this headquarters closing,” said Sergeant Tarmo Tammela from Estonia.

At the end of the ceremony, LTG Morgan presented the HQ FCHD flag to Col. Wolfgang Mika, the head of the closure party, whose responsibility is to complete the closure of the former headquarters’ facilities.