Airmen tour Bitburg, learn town's history

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Easter Sarnecki, local tour guide and Combat Introduction briefer, provides tips and information on German  culture and traditions to Spangdahlem Airmen during a tour of Bitburg supported by the Host Nation Council. (US Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Easter Sarnecki, local tour guide and Combat Introduction briefer, provides tips and information on German culture and traditions to Spangdahlem Airmen during a tour of Bitburg supported by the Host Nation Council. (US Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Prior to their departure to Bitburg, Airmen gathered in front of the Host Nation Council help desk, located in the the Brick House lobby. Col. Darryl  Roberson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, Command Chief Master Sgt. Vance Clarke, 52nd FW command chief, and Dr. Michael Dietzsch, HNC chairman, greet the group and wish them fun on the tour. The  Spangdahlem mayor, Klaus Rodens, was also present with two HNC representatives who voluntarily man the help desk. (US Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- Prior to their departure to Bitburg, Airmen gathered in front of the Host Nation Council help desk, located in the the Brick House lobby. Col. Darryl Roberson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, Command Chief Master Sgt. Vance Clarke, 52nd FW command chief, and Dr. Michael Dietzsch, HNC chairman, greet the group and wish them fun on the tour. The Spangdahlem mayor, Klaus Rodens, was also present with two HNC representatives who voluntarily man the help desk. (US Air Force photo/Iris Reiff)

SPANGHDALEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- For any Airman, a guided tour through historical Bitburg is a great way to experience one of the many great attractions the Eifel area has to offer. 

I had an opportunity to visit some of these areas that the German community provid to Airmen stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base. Bitburg and the surrounding area provide numerous historical points. 

One of many points I learned about on this tour is where Bitburg got its name, which was from the ancient Romans who inhabited the area centuries ago. While marching from Trier to Cologne, the Romans would march at an average rate of three kilometers per hour, and Bitburg was the first resting point. 

Many years later, during World War II, Army Gen. George Patton lead his division along the unpaved B-50 through Bitburg on his way to aid the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge. 

During these early times the town of Bitburg began to grow and presently has approximately 15,000 residents. I also learned that Bitburger brewery is one of the largest independent beer breweries in the world. The brewery has its own water wells only used for their beer. 

Today, Bitburg has an outstanding number of recreational opportunities. These range from various family restaurants, pubs, and swimming establishments to go carts, sky diving and ice rinks. These are great places to visit instead of the usual clubs. 

What may be quite a surprise to many Airmen is the shopping they can do at Bitburg markets on the walk platz. 

As young Airmen get a taste of life in Europe, and more specifically German culture, they can begin to appreciate the values of German hospitality. Being culturally aware also assists Airmen to seek other means of entertainment away from the strong hold that the base seems to have on many! Guided tours through local area towns and villages such as Bitburg are great stepping stones for gaining knowledge and respect of Germans.