Soldiers across Europe meet at annual fest

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from the Stuttgart military community celebrated the 35th Soldaten Wasen — the ‘Soldier’s Fest’ — along with their German and French counterparts Sept. 28 at the Stuttgarter Volksfest in Bad Cannstat.

The Soldier’s Fest, also known as the NATO Beer Maneuver, has been a tradition since 1974. International Soldiers are invited to the fest each year to not only eat and drink, but make friends with service members from other countries and exchange pieces of their uniforms.

This year, 3,000 Soldiers from Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Bavaria and the German/French Brigade in Müllheim attended. The Stuttgart military community was represented with 175 service members, including Soldiers from Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Ansbach.

The event took place in a new location this year — the Fürstenberg beer tent.
“I’m honored to continue the tradition of camaraderie between the armed forces,” said Peter Brandl, fest tent owner.

Col. Richard M. Pastore, commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, personally thanked Brandl for helping to host the historic event.

“The Soldier’s Wasen is a celebration of camaraderie, friendship, and partnership. We are proud to be here,” Pastore said.

The Soldiers soon started enjoying themselves over chicken and beer.
“The interaction with the German Soldiers is very important, and we’re having a great time,” said Sgt. James Kaus from 1/10th Special Forces Group.
The camaraderie between the German, French, and American Soldiers was reflected in their numerous exchanges of name tags, patches, flags, and even entire uniforms during the event.

“It’s always good and very interesting to meet other Soldiers,” said Private 1st Class Constantin Krause, currently stationed with the Transport Battalion for the German Armed Forces in Aschaffenburg.

The Joe Schwarz Orchestra band from Stuttgart created a festive environment with classic German folk music, country and rock tunes.

“Coming together to celebrate the Soldier’s Wasen creates a special bond between the Soldiers and our allied forces,” said Col. Franz Arnold, commander of state command Baden-Württemberg. “It is very important to stand together and support each other.”