It would not take long for someone to notice the amount of laughter and enjoyment coming from the party. The smell of authentic German cuisine, the music from the band, and people chiming in to sing “Ein Prosit” as they raised their glasses, filled the outdoor pavilion. The Fort Bragg German liaison team hosted their annual Oktoberfest at McKellar’s Lodge, Saturday.
Lt. Col. Andreas Wiechert, XVIII Airborne Corps German liaison officer, explained in his opening remarks that this Oktoberfest was a particularly special occasion, as it was also the Day of German Unity, when the country reunited in 1990.
“Oktoberfest is a wonderful way for the German liaison team to show their appreciation and say thank you to the community, said Wiechert.”
More than 300 guests from around the world attended this celebratory event, and Mr. David Paddock, director at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, kicked off the party in traditional Bavarian style with the tapping of the beer keg.
For many guests, Oktoberfest is a time to celebrate with friends. For Lother Williams, a retired sergeant major in Special Forces, he reunite with a friend he had not seen in more than 20 years. A friend he served with when he was stationed in Germany, and Oktoberfest brought them together again.
“There are so many people here that I know,” said Williams as he scanned the room. “It’s a small reunion. It’s so unique.”
Lt. Col. Carlos Parra, a Chilean protection officer for 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, attended the night’s festivities with his wife and spoke about the similarities between the German and Chilean culture, even though they are an ocean and continent apart.
“It is important, especially as liaison officers, that we learn and share from each other while we have the ability,” said Parra. He explained how events like Oktoberfest build good relationships with friends and partners and allowed for better interoperability in the future.
Parra said that the food and music were some of his favorite parts of Oktoberfest, and not long after he finished talking, he swept his wife to the dance floor and shook a leg and an arm, ending the night on a Bavarian note saying, “I’ve really enjoyed the environment, the people.”