24-Jun-2021 Source: US Army
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade presented a CH-47 Chinook rotor blade to the people of Pegnitz at a ceremony on Pegnitz Air Field, Germany, on June 21, 2021.
The blade will eventually become part of a memorial at the crash site in Pegnitz where a Chinook crashed on August 18, 1971, killing 37 American Soldiers. The ceremony is in preparation for a larger memorial to take place on the 50th anniversary of the crash.
“This ceremony is important because when the Chinook crashed the people of Pegnitz were the first ones to run out and try to help,” said Col. John Broam, commander, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. “The local community of Pegnitz has strong ties to the U.S. military and reestablishing these relationships is important to maintaining a good community.”
The tenth-grade class of Pegnitz High School also came to the ceremony, and were noticeably excited at the sight of the Chinook that landed at Pegnitz Air Field.
“It was a great opportunity to get to know some American Soldiers,” Lukas Kurzdorfer, a tenth-grade student at Pegnitz High School, said. “I never met the Soldiers before today, and was always curious about what they do and what they are like.”
The students weren’t the only ones interested in the Soldiers and the history of the Chinook that crashed. The local news networks and the Mayor of Pegnitz were at the ceremony as well.
“A lot of planning went into this ceremony,” said Wolfgang Nierhoff, the Mayor of Pegnitz. “This ceremony is important to us because a lot of the older people of Pegnitz remember the crash, and remember running out to help, and building our friendship with the American Army.”
Broam said the ceremony was important so that the younger generation of Soldiers and citizens of Pegnitz can learn about the event, and the long-standing partnership between the military and the city.
“Events like this are a great opportunity for the local community to ask us questions and get to know us,” said Broam. “It’s important to establish those relationships and clearly communicate with each other in order to foster friendship.”
“We love American Soldiers,” said Wolfgang. “Any opportunity for us to get to interact with Soldiers, or see them flying helicopters is always interesting to German people.”