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Soldier in the spotlight

By 1st Lt. Luis Sánchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#124, October 17, 2001

When German WO2 Manfred Koch, nicknamed "Manny," joined the Army in 1978 and enlisted in the helicopter unit, he made his dream come true. "Apart from my family, helicopters always have been a dream for me."
Born in Bochum, Western Germany, 42 years ago, he has been working as a flying engineer for the last 18 years. Currently, he is serving in the 1/ LFZT ABT 302, Heeresfliegrregiment 30 (30 Army Helicopter Regiment), posted in Niederstetten, south-central Germany.
Every day he performs the pre-flight inspection of the 1HU-1D to ensure that the aircraft is ready to fly. As part of the crew, he performs the different missions and the post-flight inspection. Flying over the theatre provides him with a bird's-eye view of the country: "The countryside is wonderful, full of different places."
A volunteer who's proud of being in SFOR, he's performing his fourth tour abroad and the second in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He's previously served twice in Zadar (Croatia). He also participated in numerous exercises across Europe with his unit.
Manny is known by his colleagues as "Mixer," due to his skills in carrying out a lot of different jobs, from mechanics to journalism. In fact, media is one of his passions, especially photography.
"I was here for the first time in 1999. I worked as a journalist and photographer in 'Der Keiler,' the German contingent's newspaper. It was a great experience."
Armed with his faith and his belief in the power of words, Manny writes and edits the "Platten-Post" (Heliport-Post), a publication for his unit in Rajlovac. "I like to work with words and to tell stories to people."
He's married with three boys, aged 14,11 and 7. They are always on his mind. He's also fond of motorcycles, travels and tries to keep fit by practising sport on a regular basis.
Versatile and devoted, Manny is a soldier whose large range of activities has gained the respect and admiration of his partners.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Germany