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AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
The commander of U.S. Africa Command hosted a reception for influential members of the local community in Stuttgart, Germany, Sept. 24, 2019.
U.S. Africa Command hosted a reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 1 of 6: U.S. Africa Command hosted a reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Col. Jason Condrey, chats with a guest during an AFRICOM hosted reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Oliver Karpf, an executive with Tiroler Bank and U.S. military liaison for AmCham Germany said it was important to keep strong ties with AFRICOM because their members are interested in what is happening in their community. Two weeks ago the group toured a school on Panzer and last week they attended an event at U.S. European Command in efforts to maintain relationships with the local military installations, Karpf said. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 2 of 6: Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Col. Jason Condrey, chats with a guest during an AFRICOM hosted reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Oliver Karpf, an executive with Tiroler Bank and U.S. military liaison for AmCham Germany said it was important to keep strong ties with AFRICOM because their members are interested in what is happening in their community. Two weeks ago the group toured a school on Panzer and last week they attended an event at U.S. European Command in efforts to maintain relationships with the local military installations, Karpf said. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
Members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, mingle with U.S. Africa Command leaders during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 3 of 6: Members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, mingle with U.S. Africa Command leaders during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend welcomed members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Townsend explained AFRICOM's three main tasks of strengthening security forces, countering transnational threats and responding to crisis in Africa. Guests then received an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 4 of 6: U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend welcomed members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Townsend explained AFRICOM's three main tasks of strengthening security forces, countering transnational threats and responding to crisis in Africa. Guests then received an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend participates in the question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 5 of 6: U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend participates in the question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
High level AFRICOM leaders  participated in a question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
6 photos: AFRICOM hosts a reception for the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Photo 6 of 6: High level AFRICOM leaders participated in a question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Africa Command hosted a reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Col. Jason Condrey, chats with a guest during an AFRICOM hosted reception for the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Oliver Karpf, an executive with Tiroler Bank and U.S. military liaison for AmCham Germany said it was important to keep strong ties with AFRICOM because their members are interested in what is happening in their community. Two weeks ago the group toured a school on Panzer and last week they attended an event at U.S. European Command in efforts to maintain relationships with the local military installations, Karpf said. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
Members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, mingle with U.S. Africa Command leaders during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. It's been four years since the last visit; this year the group was welcomed by AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend welcomed members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. Townsend explained AFRICOM's three main tasks of strengthening security forces, countering transnational threats and responding to crisis in Africa. Guests then received an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. They also partook in a question and answer session with AFRICOM leaders. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
U.S. Africa Commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend participates in the question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the  American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)
High level AFRICOM leaders  participated in a question and answer session with members of the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, during a reception in Stuttgart, Sept. 24, 2019. The group was also given an AFRICOM overview and briefings on civil-military engagement in Africa and the United States Agency for International Development's efforts in Africa. The purpose of the reception was to enlighten AmCham Germany on the AFRICOM mission and its goal of promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa and to build relationships between Americans and Germans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Megan Crusher)

The commander of U.S. Africa Command hosted a reception for influential members of the local community in Stuttgart, Germany, Sept. 24, 2019.

AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, and top level officers under his command interacted with more than 50 German business leaders from the Baden-Württemberg chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Germany).

“All our members have a high level of interest in meeting Americans,” said Oliver Karpf, an executive with Tiroler Bank and one of the AmCham chapter’s liaisons to the U.S. military.

These influencers represented various industries including banking, hospitality, government, manufacturing, media and retail. However, business networking was not the top priority, according to Karpf.

He said the most important part of the evening was being able to positively interact with American service members, since the “American Armed Forces are U.S. Ambassadors here in Europe”.

“We’re very happy to have you here today,” Townsend said. “My wife Melissa and I, it’s been our dream for 37 years of my military career, to come to an assignment in Germany. It took that whole time because there’s fewer and fewer Americans here.”

He said some of the current AmCham members can probably recall the ‘70s & ‘80s, when there were 300,000 U.S. troops in Germany, where as today there are only about 30,000 permanently stationed in all of Europe.

Karpf also touched on the declining U.S. footprint when recalling how 25, 30 years ago Americans were much more visible because they wore uniforms off base, drove American cars with U.S. license plates and stood out as Americans.

Bernhard Muthsam, business relations, Ernst & Young GmbH and Karpf’s AmCham liaison partner agreed with how challenging it is to meet Americans these days and explained why it’s important for events like this to bring Germans and Americans together.

“We consider the AFRICOM people, the EUCOM & Panzer people as our citizens, so it’s necessary to get in touch with them,” he said. “If you ask our members it’s very rare you get in touch with people from EUCOM or AFRICOM because we don’t realize there are Americans, so this event has been very exceptional.”

After opening remarks and a mission brief, Acting, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, Mr. Russell Schiebel, U.S. Dept. of State, and USAID Senior Developmental Advisor, Barbara Hughes, discussed their agency’s work in Africa. Following their briefings, Schiebel and Hughes joined a panel of three AFRICOM leaders to respond to community interest in AFRICOM’s operations.

Once the question and answer session closed, Townsend addressed the group and thanked them for coming.

“Hopefully we’ve enlightened you a little bit about what AFRICOM is working on.” Townsend said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to mingle and answer more questions directly.”

The evening continued with dinner and more time to become acquainted with each other.

AmCham Germany is built on a foundation of American and German partnerships that strive to enhance global economic and trade relations. They work towards enabling cross-cultural understanding and cooperation in various business arenas.

Both Karpf and Muthsam said they would like to continue having receptions like this every two years and were happy to have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with Americans living in Germany.

“Again, meeting Americans does not mean meeting foreigners,” Karpf said. “It’s like meeting family members.”

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