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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Retired German Army Brig. Gen. Johann Berger retires as the German Deputy Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in a retirement ceremony Sept. 25. For more photos, visit the Marshall Center Gallery. (DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Gerszewski/RELEASED)

By Christine June
Public Affairs
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – One of the highlights of retired German Army Brig. Gen. Johann Berger’s almost five-year tenure as the German Deputy Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies was the signing of the new memorandum of agreement between Germany and the U.S in October 2016.

“This was a really good thing because of the importance and contributions from the German side of this German-American partnership increased significantly,” said Berger, who was one of the driving forces behind getting this agreement finalized.

The Marshall Center’s German Element held a farewell ceremony for Berger Sept. 25 at the Marshall Center. After his farewell, the German Element also held a Flag Uncasing Ceremony.

Berger was the German Deputy Director of the Marshall Center since February 2015. Prior to joining the Marshall Center, Berger was the Commander of the Bavarian Regional Command.

Berger said the other highlight for him was the visit by the former U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and former German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen during a ceremony here honoring 70 years of the Marshall Plan June 28, 2017.

“They initiated the new American-German dialogue and enhanced the transatlantic link and this relationship to stand together, allied against threats to the peace and security throughout the world,” Berger said.

The official party for his retirement ceremony included the Marshall Center Director retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, Minister Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior for Sport and Integration, and German Maj. Gen. Franz Weidhüner, of the Amtschef Streitkräfteamt.

“As the German Deputy, he has been more than I could reasonably have hoped for,” Dayton said. “He has been a leader and inspiration not only to our German element, but also to all members of the Marshall Center.  He has been our Ambassador across Europe and beyond.”

Dayton presented Berger with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award signed by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is the Marshall Center’s higher headquarters on the U.S. side.

Berger was also recognized for his outstanding service by the Commander of the U.S. European Command U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters:

“Your sustained leadership and commitment were critical to the Marshall Center’s success in executing security cooperation activities and solving European regional security challenges. In addition, your engagement with key stakeholders had a profound impact on strengthening the American-German partnership, and achieving policy goals of both countries.”

The Lord Mayor Dr. Sigrid Meierhofer, Municipality of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Lord Mayor Stephan Märkl, Municipality of Grainau, and Consul General Meghan Gregonis, of the U.S. Consulate General in Munich, attended Berger’s retirement Center.

“I think the future of the Marshall Center is still and will remain one of the most important assets that we have on the transatlantic side to come to grips with the challenges and the problems we have to face on this planet,” Berger said.