Jennifer H. Svan

Europe Quick Trips

Colorful Chagall: A modern master’s art illuminates Gothic church in Mainz

To reach St. Stephan’s in the storied city of Mainz, Germany, you have to climb. But the heart-pounding pilgrimage is worth the effort, once you swing open the creaky, heavy church doors and see a sea of blue.

Click photo for caption and to enlarge


Senate may require Pentagon to study permanent US presence in Poland

Specifically, the Pentagon is to examine whether a permanently assigned Army brigade combat team would be effective and how Russia might react to such a move. Poland currently hosts U.S. Army and NATO forces, who rotate between Poland and the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

No last-minute deals this time: AFN secures World Cup rights early, will broadcast starting Thursday

Soccer fans serving with the U.S. military overseas will get to watch the World Cup on American Forces Network when it starts Thursday.

31 families to move after ceiling collapse at Air Force’s Vogelweh housing

Air Force housing officials are preparing to move 31 families from two Vogelweh multistory housing complexes as quickly as possible after an apartment ceiling collapse that brought down a fan and lighting fixtures.

No one injured in apartment ceiling collapse at Air Force’s Vogelweh housing area

Residents of an apartment in a multistory building at Vogelweh were fortunate not to be home Tuesday evening when a ceiling collapse brought down lights and a ceiling fan and exposed electrical wires.

More than 74 years after his B-24 Liberator was shot down, a US airman is coming home

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency found the remains of Army Air Forces Sgt. Alfonso O. Duran's remains last summer next to a church in the Slovenian countryside. He had been missing since his plane was shot down during World War II.

Air Force begins operating Reaper drone from Poland

U.S. Air Forces in Europe said in a recent statement that it is operating an MQ-9 Reaper aircraft at Miroslawiec Air Base “as a visible expression of U.S. efforts to enhance regional stability.”

Serrano couldn't be beaten at season-ending meet

Jose Serrano set a new European mark in the 3,200 - his fourth gold in two days after winning the 800, 1,600 and anchoring the Royals’ winning 3,200 relay team.

There's apparently no limit to Branch's track feats

Kaiserslautern’s Jada Branch spent the first few weeks of her track and field season this spring nursing an injury.

United says military families worldwide can ship pets back to US, but for how long remains uncertain

All U.S. military families overseas — regardless of where they are stationed — are eligible to use United Airlines to fly their pets to the States under an exception to policy for military members announced by the carrier and the Defense Department this week.

United will fly barred pets home if they originally sent them overseas

Some U.S. military families moving back to the States from the Pacific may be able to fly United Airlines with their pets, regardless of the carrier’s stricter pet travel rules that ban some 25 breeds of dogs and cats.

New rule forces some base workers to accept changes to pay, benefits or lose jobs

Ramstein is believed to be the first base overseas to convert services jobs held by foreign employees to the host-nation or non-U.S. employment program earlier this year. At least one other base in Germany is considering the same conversion.

European track - Day 2

Branch, Serrano wow crowd, set new marks

Kaiserslautern senior breaks second mark in two days by winning 400, while Ramstein senior finishes with five gold medals and sets new record in 3,200.

European track - Day 1

Branch breaks own record on sweltering K-town track

Branch’s jumping feat was part of an exciting day of competition that saw another record almost fall on the track, a slew of new champions emerge, and a few familiar faces exert their dominance again.

Air Force tries to ease pilot shortage by asking more retirees to come back

The Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty program is being expanded to all pilots and maximum tour lengths are being more than doubled to help ease a serious shortage of qualified aviators.

German court affirms acquittals of Holiday Park employees in 2014 death of former soldier’s daughter

A German appeals court has ruled that two amusement park employees were not responsible for the 2014 death of a former U.S. soldier’s daughter on a family ride, even though the men were found to have been lax in some of their duties.

Thunderbirds to resume first air shows since fatal crash in April

The Air Force Thunderbirds announced Monday they’ll perform next week in Virginia, their first air show since the April 4 death of team member Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno during a training flight.

Military parents, educators reflect on their own resiliency to help their teens

Organizers of an event said parents and mental health professionals are seeing increased reports of teen depression, anxiety, self-harm and other mental health issues in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

Germany sentences asylum seeker to prison for role in attacks on US, Afghan forces

An Afghan refugee seeking asylum in Germany has been sentenced to four years and 10 months in jail for his role in attacks against U.S. and Afghan government forces while he was a teenager in Afghanistan.

DODEA students brighten Kaiserslautern city hall with art

An exhibit features watercolors, mixed-media works, photographs, pencil drawings, ceramics and other kinds of art from six Defense Department schools in the Kaiserslautern, Baumholder and Wiesbaden communities.

New United pet ban could spur military family heartache

When United Airlines resumes shipping pets in June, it will no longer transport some 25 breeds of dogs and cats and will bar oversized carriers commonly used for large dog breeds, such as Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds.

Carla Ohio another fine coffee hangout in Kaiserslautern

Considering how bustling the Kaffeeroesterei is, it stands to reason that Kaiserslautern has room for another establishment dedicated to fine coffee. Carla Ohio Coffee and Things is trying to fill that niche.

Deadline extended for female sailors to convert to sub force ratings

Sailors in ranks E-1 to E-8 now have until June 1 to apply, the Navy announced this week. The deadline had been April 11.

DODEA students get high marks in America's report card

U.S. military students are right up there with academic powerhouse Massachusetts, according to the latest national test results. The Department of Defense Education Activity held its own against a state that traditionally outperforms the nation in student assessments.

Former US servicemember arrested after German train station fight turns deadly

Police said a 33-year-old American killed a German man outside the Kaiserslautern train station last month.

Europe Quick Trips

Interactive exhibits at German dinosaur museum educate, entertain, frighten

When you visit Gondwana - Das Praehistorium, you’re in for a few surprises.

Vets say Air Force should have allowed retirement speech that mentioned God

A retired senior master sergeant, Rodriguez had been invited by Master Sgt. Charles Roberson to speak while the flag was folded during Roberson’s retirement ceremony at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., two years ago.

Air Force: Colonel had religious right to refuse signing same-sex spouse appreciation letter

The Air Force has affirmed the religious rights of a colonel who claimed he was wrongly disciplined for refusing to sign a certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of one of his airmen last year.

Construction begins at Ramstein on biggest DODEA school in Germany

The new high school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021, which means this year’s 8th graders will be the first class to attend and graduate from the new school.

As Air Force grapples with pilot shortage, Flight Academy provides hope for the future

The Air Force plans to put kids into the cockpit to teach them how to fly in hopes of sparking youth interest in aviation as the military struggles with a pilot shortage.

Military family pets stranded as United Airlines suspends shipments

Military families on Guam moving to the U.S. mainland may be forced to leave their pets behind, following United Airlines’ decision to suspend its pet transportation program until no later than May 1, following multiple delivery mistakes and at least one pet death.

Third-grader brings knife to Fort Belvoir school; no injuries following scare

A third-grade student brought a pocket knife to Fort Belvoir Elementary School in Virginia on Thursday and may have threatened other students with it, according to parents critical of the school’s response and base officials.

Fighter jet operations ramp up during basewide Spangdahlem exercise

Spangdahlem Air Base wrapped up a two-week exercise Thursday night, during which flying ramped up day and night. Loud sirens signaled for airmen to take cover under desks, among other training drills.


Students at overseas military bases protest school shootings with walkouts

At bases from Japan to Germany, students joined a national gun violence protest, walking out of class Wednesday in memory of peers and teachers killed in a Florida school shooting last month.

Medical retirement can leave servicemembers fighting for their pensions

Though uncommon, getting discharged between 19 and 20 years on medical grounds does happen. It almost happened to Jerred Mitchell, a noncommissioned officer at Ramstein Air Base.

Ramstein 5th-grader wins European PTA Spelling Bee

After 38 grueling rounds and more than four hours on stage, Ramstein Intermediate School 5th-grader Jonnen Messer won the 35th annual European PTA Spelling Bee, with the word "stalactite." His final-round opponent Ramstein Middle School 7th-grader Ramon Padua Jr., fell on the word "trillado."