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The move of the Headquarters of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC) from Germany to the UK was formally marked with a farewell parade in Germany on Friday 18 June 2010.
After being based in Monchengladbach for 18 years, HQ ARRC is moving to Imjin Barracks, Innsworth, Gloucester.
HQ ARRC is a High Readiness Force (Land) HQ whose mission is to be prepared to deploy under NATO, EU, coalition or national auspices to a designated area, to undertake combined and joint operations in order to support crisis management options or the sustainment of current operations.
The Corps was created in 1992 and commanded the Land Forces of NATO’s first ever deployment as part of the IFOR operation in Bosnia in 1995/6, deployed as the headquarters commanding Land Forces during the Kosovo War in 1999, and took command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan on 4 May 2006.
To mark the move to the UK, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the guest of honour, was in attendance on Friday as HQ ARRC officially bade farewell to Germany and to Monchengladbach at a parade at JHQ Rheindahlen.
The parade was watched in sunny weather by hundreds of British and multinational Service personnel and their families, with Forces’ children amongst those enthusiastically greeting the Princess Royal on her arrival.
Her Royal Highness was joined for the occasion by numerous senior British, German and NATO officers and dignitaries, in recognition of this historic milestone in HQ ARRC’s history.
These included Dr Walther Otremba, German State Secretary for Defence, Mr Gerald Howarth, British Minister for International Security Strategy, and Dr Jurgen Ruttgers, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Also at the parade were General Sir John McColl, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir David Richards, British Chief of the General Staff and a former Commander ARRC, and General (Retired) Sir Jeremy Mackenzie, also a former Commander ARRC.
The guests were hosted by Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff, Commander ARRC, and his staff from HQ ARRC.
Addressing the parade, the Princess Royal said:
I am delighted to have been invited to take this parade, marking the departure of the ARRC from Germany. As a regular visitor to British forces in Germany, I have always been struck by the warmth and friendship shown to British and allied forces by the German community.
This makes an enormous difference to the families, especially when the soldiers are deployed on operations. I am grateful to North Rhine-Westphalia for hosting British forces, and to the people of Monchengladbach, who show unstinting friendship and support, not only to the British but to all the nations of the ARRC.
I wish the ARRC well for the challenges that lie ahead of you. You and your families take with you, on your move, my highest regards and respect.
Speaking at the reception, Dr Ruttgers said:
The Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps stands for multinational operations and for mutual challenges.
Its personnel come from 15 nations on both sides of the Atlantic. Together we fulfil our duties in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and, of course, Afghanistan. North Rhine-Westphalia has a special role here; Bundeswehr soldiers from our state were the first German soldiers who made up the rapid reaction contribution to ISAF in North Afghanistan.
We in North Rhine-Westphalia really do appreciate what American and European soldiers and police officers risk for us every day in Afghanistan and, most importantly, why. We fully support the transatlantic partnership.
Thanking the Princess Royal and all the guests for joining HQ ARRC for the parade, Lieutenant General Shirreff added:
I am quite clear that it is Germany, this area and this community that have laid the foundations for the success of the ARRC, and shaped its ethos and esprit de corps.
Not only have we worked together, trained together, thought and operated together here and in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, but it is here that we prepare for our next tour of Afghanistan. But, most importantly, we have lived together in a garrison with unrivalled facilities, supported and encouraged by the friendliest of local communities. All this has been fundamental to the way the ARRC has developed.
As for the future, let me assure you that although the ARRC is moving to England, we will do all we can to ensure that it maintains its multinational character as a NATO headquarters together with its unique ethos.
I am also delighted that Germany will continue to contribute the third largest contingent in the headquarters, and I look to our German team to maintain the strongest of links with Germany. To all our German friends, I close by expressing our deepest thanks and appreciation for all you have done for the ARRC; goodbye and thank you for everything you have done for us. We will never forget you.
The move of the ARRC to the UK is part of a bigger project which is seeing several thousand British troops move from Germany to the UK.