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Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, left, congratulates Ron Mott and his family for his service in Iraq during a ceremony Monday in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, left, congratulates Ron Mott and his family for his service in Iraq during a ceremony Monday in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Raymond T. Conway / S&S)

WIESBADEN, Germany — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, knows that people can’t deploy to war zones without the help and support of those they leave behind.

In recognition of that, the unit held an hour-long ceremony at the Taunus Theater on Hainerberg Casern honoring five groups: employees who recently came back from up to one-year deployments and their families; employees who spent a shorter time downrange and their families; employees who made a significant contribution to the mission, emergency and support personnel; and spouses of currently deployed U.S. troops and corps personnel.

The Koch family said they were surprised by the ceremony.

“This was unexpected,” said Teresa Koch, who gave birth to their now 9-month-old daughter, Isabella, while her husband, Jonathan, was deployed. “It was the hardest knowing that [Jonathan] was missing everything, but he still got to see her grow up by e-mail and videos.”

Jonathan Koch said the ceremony was nice because it was the first time civilians were recognized for volunteering to go downrange, as well as family members.

“Deployments are just as hard on family members,” he said.

Annette Biddle, management assistant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, agreed.

“This meant a whole lot. It was such a surprise and truly a blessing because it shows they really care about deployed family members,” said Biddle, whose husband is an active-duty military member deployed separately from the Corps of Engineers. “They really didn’t have to do this. I’m just their employee and it shows how thoughtful they were. It wasn’t expected at all.”

Biddle wore a yellow rose boutonniere during the ceremony provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to show she has a deployed family member.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers volunteers from the Europe district generally go downrange in groups from six to nine people and act as technical advisers for combat engineer units.

About 95 percent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, are civilians, making it the largest serving district to get deployed to Southwest Asia, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanding general, said during the ceremony.

Col. Lee A. Staab, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, commander, and Lt. Col. Christopher Franks, 221st Base Support Battalion commander, were also at the ceremony.

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