Before he assumed command of the 563rd Operations Support Squadron, Lt. Col. Lorne Eshelman served as a personnel exchange program liaison with the German Air Force. On July, 18, he was awarded for his efforts.
Eshelman was presented the German Air Force Service Cross by Oberst Heinz-Josef Ferkinghoff, GAF, during a ceremony held at the Mirage Club. Oberst is the German rank equivalent to a colonel in the United States.
Eshelman spent two years in the personnel exchange position. He worked as a liaison between the German Air Force Command and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
His primary duty was to act as a translator.
“It was my job, as a U.S. liaison to the GAF, to handle translations,” Eshelman said. “I’m fluent in German, so I could communicate on all levels. If they had any information that needed translating, whether from German to English or vice versa, it was my responsibility.”
He lived and worked in the city of Cologne, Germany. His duty station was Porz-Wahn Air Force Base.
“All the staff functions of the GAF were there,” Eshelman said. “Exercises and Plans, their NATO branch and their Intelligence; you can equate it to the Pentagon for the U.S. Air Force.”
Most of his translations centered on exchanges with American forces in Europe.
“I communicated with the U. S. Air Forces in Europe staff at Ramstein Air Base, Germany,” Eshelman said. “If they and the GAFC Command needed to work together it was my job to break through that language barrier and establish communications. I was also the point of contact if the GAF wanted to participate in American exercises such as Red Flag or Angel Thunder.”
The award Eshelman received can be equated to a Meritorious Service Medal.
“It was a great honor receiving this medal from the GAF,” Eshelman said. “It takes a lot to get a medal in Germany. You’ll see military members with almost 30 years of service walking around with only one, or two medals on their uniforms. That they thought enough of me and the work I did over there to present me with this award is truly an honor.”
Ferkinghoff drove from New Mexico to present the award. He is currently stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., where he is serving in a U.S. Air Force exchange position.