Introducing Your New Editor

Hello and thank you to the gracious welcome the ASHHS society has shown me. It is my pleasure to assume the editing and design duties on the ASHHS newsletter. I am impressed with the passion the society shows for our Schleswig-Holstein heritage. It is with sincere thanks to former editor Phil Roberts and the entire society that they have afforded me this opportunity—provided to them and me by my mom, Anita Holst—to continue their proven success.
I, too, am a descendent from Schleswig-Holstein, among other German communities. My first experience in Germany came with the US Air Force where I honorably served for over twenty-one years. But my first assignment was at Bitburg Air Base from 1986 to 1989. Bitburg is within the Rhineland-Palatinate of the Eifel region and just north of Trier. Legend has it that US forces purposely left Bitburg’s brewery intact while decimating the surrounding area during World War II. That brewery, of course, has become the famous home of Bitte ein Bit, that is “Please one Bitburger Pils beer.” Brewed to be drunk at room temperature, Bitburger is an acquired taste, but once acquired, it is a wonderful taste.
Following technical school at Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado and a few weeks at Langley AFB in Virginia, I flew into Frankfurt. I don’t remember the flight at all, but I do remember the bus ride due west from Frankfurt to Bitburg. Annemarie Jensen wrote in her article “Why did so many people from Schleswig-Holstein immigrate to Iowa of all places” (translated by Dörte Jensen, September/October 2014) that “the land was flat and look like the land back home.” I can’t speak for the land in Schleswig-Holstein, but growing up in LeClaire, Iowa and having spent much time throughout Eastern Iowa, I was amazed how Iowa mimicked the German landscape. If it wasn’t for German architecture and some weird road signs, I might have believed I was back in Iowa.
In the early to mid-1980s, Bitburg loved their American visitors. During in-processing, we were granted tours of the brewery with samples, and for lunch every arriving Airman met with Bitburg’s Bürgermeister who welcomed us on behalf of his citizens with grace and gratitude. I remember that lunch well with a crisp salad and the best Pomme Frites I ever ate. Yes, I love German food. My friends and I often frequented the Italian Eis Café on the Bitburg walkplatz to enjoy some tasty spaghetti eis (ice cream). Other times, we went to Hella’s Greek restaurant on the corner of Bitburg’s five-way intersection. We enjoyed German beer for dinner with a shot of ouzo for our after-dinner drink.
I have many fond memories of Germany both at Bitburg in recent years. Perhaps I may offer some more recollections of military life in Germany during the cold war, but for now, I just want to again offer my gratitude to all of you. If anyone has any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to ask.