VILSECK, Germany — Mayor Anton Peter of Ammerthal and Chairperson Doris Weiss of the Ammerthal Homeland and Cultural Association were special guests at the change of command ceremony of their partnership squadron, 2nd Air Support Operation Squadron (2ASOS), on June 18, 2020.
The ceremony took place on Rose Barracks, and signified the command transfer from outgoing Lt. Col. Michael Hayek to incoming Lt. Col. Justin D. Bañez. As the Hayek family is PCSing to Ramstein Airforce Base.
Due to COVID-19, health precautions were observed throughout. All participants maintained a safe physical distance from one another. And the physical transfer of the guidon was instead replaced with a salute. Additionally, the event was livestreamed on Facebook, so community members of both the squadron and Ammerthal could tune-in from home.
During his parting speech, Lt. Col. Hayek expressed deep gratitude for the continued support of the 2ASOS squadron, USAG Bavaria’s 173rd, 2CR and 7th ATC units, his mentors, his family and the Ammerthal community.
“Distinguished guests of Ammerthal, thank you for your friendship and community partnership,” said Lt. Col. Hayek. “Your generosity to share your culture is one of our fondest memories.”
After the ceremony, Mayor Peter and Weiss presented both lieutenant colonels with welcome and farewell gifts – filled with specialty goods from Ammerthal and face masks marked with a special Bavarian design.
“To our community leaders of Ammerthal, I’m relieved to know that the 2ASOS has a great partnership with you,” said Lt. Col. Bañez. “You opened your arms and honored us to be partners. Please know that we will continue to be here.”
Lt. Col. Bañez is accompanied by his wife, Ada Sarmento, and their daughter.
Editor’s Note: The 173rd Airborne Brigade is a part of a 2ASOS detachment in Italy.