HomeNewsArticle Display

Utah ANG hosts exchange officer, strengthens NATO ties with Germany

Staff Sgt. Chris Johnson (left) and Senior Airman Chris Cunningham (right), explosive ordnance disposal technicians with the 151st Civil Engineering Squadron, put a bomb suit on Lt. Col. Timo Diegmueller during his tour of the Utah Air National Guard EOD unit. Diegmueller, a Reserve intelligence officer with the German Air Force, visited the Air Guard Base in Salt Lake City while participating in the Department of Defense Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program. (Utah Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Annie Edwards/RELEASED)

Staff Sgt. Chris Johnson (left) and Senior Airman Chris Cunningham (right), explosive ordnance disposal technicians with the 151st Civil Engineering Squadron, put a bomb suit on Lt. Col. Timo Diegmueller during his tour of the Utah Air National Guard EOD unit. Diegmueller, a Reserve intelligence officer with the German Air Force, visited the Air Guard Base in Salt Lake City while participating in the Department of Defense Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program. (Utah Air National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Annie Edwards/RELEASED)

Salt Lake City -- The Utah Air National Guard recently hosted a German officer who spent two weeks here June 9-20 as part of the Department of Defense Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program.

Lt. Col. Timo Diegmueller, a military intelligence officer with the German Air Force Headquarters in Cologne,
made the nearly 6,000-mile journey to the U.S. to get a first-hand look at Air National Guard training, doctrine and operations, and to reinforce the NATO alliance between the two countries.  

"I would like to take back to my colleagues, not only in the military but also in my civilian life, that it makes sense to continuously work on this friendship and to exchange ideas and feelings, and not to forget about the specific reasons why both governments implemented this exchange," said Diegmueller.

The Reserve Officers Foreign Exchange Program started in 1985 during the peak of the Cold War and was intended to intensify a good personal and working relationship between the armed forces of Germany and the United States.

"I enjoyed a brief and brilliant visit to your nation's capital; however, the more valuable experience was being on site and on duty with my American comrades and being completely integrated in daily operations," said Diegmueller. "I especially enjoyed the insights I gained by spending time with and talking to all the skilled and experienced Airmen on base, all of which are extremely passionate about their work."

Lt. Col. Troy Drennan, commander of the 169th Intelligence Squadron, sponsored Diegmueller during his visit, introducing him to nearly every unit on base and giving him an exclusive look at daily operations.

"This exchange program provides an opportunity to trade ideas and gain experience from other militaries, which is especially important during this time of multinational military operations," said Drennan.

Drennan and the other members of the 169th Intelligence Squadron took time outside of work to show Diegmueller some of the sites in Utah's capital city. The exchange not only offered invaluable cross-cultural experience, it also fostered a deeper understanding between the sister services.

"I would like to underline that the way Lt. Col. Drennan and his crew have taken care of me here has been overwhelming," said Diegmueller. "During my stay, I developed strong friendships with many Airmen and officers."

Diegmueller also expressed his appreciation to Col. Darwin Craig, commander of the 151st Air Refueling Wing, for giving him the opportunity to be a guest of the Utah ANG.

The visit culminated with several key members on base presenting Diegmueller with coins and gifts to take back to his unit as tokens of appreciation for his participation and cooperation in making this year's exchange a huge success.

"I would like to be an ambassador for our friendship and the values this relationship represents," said Diegmueller. "After all, the German-American friendship is a big success story that stands for the promotion of freedom and democracy in the world."