WIESBADEN, Germany – A strong and successful team leans on each other, but it is not uncommon for the team to lean a little more on one member rather than the others. For a football team, it’s usually the quarterback. For a football team, it’s the captain.
And the same goes for army teams.
When the deputy commander of the 1st Armored Division Support Division in Germany was about to deploy to Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003, he lined up a small group of his key and essential members of the detachment team. rear in front of the Hanau, Germany headquarters. . As he was walking in the line he stopped and pointed to Heinz Kaffenberger and said “make sure you take care of our families”.
Now director of the Wiesbaden Logistics Preparedness Center, Kaffenberger has always been a key and essential member of the army team and has always gone out of his way to take care of soldiers and their families.
Shortly after his 15-month compulsory conscription service in the German Army, Kaffenberger accepted a job offer and went to work with the US Army at the age of 21. His first job was as an auto mechanic with an army air defense unit at Cambrai- Fritsch Kaserne in Darmstadt, Germany.
“The US military has always been so good to me, and luckily for me, I was always in the right place when there was potential for promotion,” said Kaffenberger, who is a German national employee with 44 years of service. in the USA. Army.
Even though some of those promotions were forced, he said.
After working as an auto mechanic, senior mechanic, quality assurance inspector, and private vehicle inspector, Kaffenberger was offered a promotion to a maintenance worker, which he really didn’t want.
“I wasn’t interested in this job because I thought it was too difficult,” Kaffenberger said. “So the logistics manager called me on a Sunday. He said MPs needed fuel and there was something wrong with the gas station.
When Kaffenberger arrived at the DOL office, his boss – called the director of industrial operations at the time – hit Kaffenberger with a switcheroo and a curve ball.
“You have to make a decision now,” he told me. “Either I hire you and pay you as a maintenance agent, or I hire someone else and you do the job anyway,” Kaffenberger said. “As an exception to politics, I was promoted to maintenance, jumping two or three ranks at the time.”
“Opportunities like this with the US military I’m very grateful for,” said Kaffenberger, who served as director of LRC Wiesbaden of the 405th Army Support Brigade for more than 14 years. “Opportunities like this are not possible without the right amount of schooling or the right university degree in the German system. “
Of course, there are a lot of training requirements with the US military – some of which can be very difficult, especially for a local national employee who initially doesn’t have a masterful understanding of the English language, said Kaffenberger.
“But the opportunities are there and people are able to see your potential,” Kaffenberger said, adding that he thought he spent more waking hours of his life working for the US military than possibly anything else.
And Kaffenberger said he was also keenly aware of where much of the credit for his successes came from.
“It was never me,” said Heinz Kaffenberger, who heads a team of around 85 people at the Logistics Readiness Center in Wiesbaden. “I’ve always had good teams, and they’ve always made sure we meet our obligations or exceed expectations.”
“It’s always the people who worked with me,” said Kaffenberger, who was at one time the logistics director of the 104th Army Support Group and responsible for several communities – from Giessen to Baumholder, Hanau to Bad Kreuznach and more – with nearly 400 employees assigned to its management.
“As a leader you can make sure the resources are there, but the work is always done by the people around you,” he said. “In my case, it’s always been like that. I have always had great people working around me.
“And I’ve made a lot of friendships over the years,” he added. “I have met a lot of interesting people in my career and made a lot of friends.
“Some were captains when I first met them, and they retired as lieutenant colonels,” he said. “One of them was the commanding officer of the 405th AFSB and retired as a colonel.”
A longtime friend of his in the military, who was director of logistics at 104th ASG when Kaffenberger was the chief of transportation, served as director of the US Army’s facilities management command in the Pacific, a senior management position and a major command.
“I went to his wedding,” said Kaffenberger, who has been married to his own wife for 11 years, Anne of Scotland.
“Just yesterday I ran into someone in the hallway that I worked with about 20 years ago. He’s retiring next month, just like me. When he took off his mask, I said ‘I know you’, ”he said.
Kaffenberger, from Reichelsheim, Germany, plans to stay busy after retirement and spend lots of time with his family.
“My schedule is full,” said Heinz Kaffenberger. “I inherited a farm from my parents and I am currently in the process of completely renovating the old farm. I also own a small piece of land in the forest and I really enjoy working there. I also have a rich life volunteering and working for my city.
“Most importantly, I can’t wait to spend time with my grandchildren,” said the father of two and grandfather of four. “Two of my grandchildren live right across from my house. We live in a nice neighborhood and I really look forward to spending many good times with them outside.
A farewell lunch is scheduled for Kaffenberger and scheduled for December 10 from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm at the Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel, Germany. To confirm your attendance, call 0611-143-528-2323 or email [email protected]