On 4 October 2012 in a formal ceremony in Santiago de Chile, tribute was paid to longstanding Chilean-German cooperation in the Antarctic. Since 1991 Chile has supported EOC in operating the German Antarctic station GARS O’Higgins (German Antarctic Receiving Station) by providing extensive logistic assistance.
At the Chilean Joint Peacekeeping Operations Centre (Centro Conjunto para Operaciones de Paz de Chile) in Santiago de Chile, German ambassador Hans-Henning Blomeyer-Barstenstein emphasized the close and steadfast collaboration between Chile and Germany in the Antarctic. The head of the EOC international ground segment, Dr. Erhard Diedrich, thanked the Chilean military for the logistic support it makes available to the Antarctic station and emphasized that without these services, satellite reception of science data in the Antarctic would be impossible. He highlighted German interest on a further expansion of cooperation in Antarctic research. As an expression of appreciation, Dr. Diedrich presented honorary plaques to the representatives of the Antarctic divisions of the Chilean armed forces.
Established in 1991, the station has braved the icy storms on the White Continent for over 20 years. EOC staff regularly travel from their home base in Oberpfaffenhofen to work shifts in the Antarctic. Without the support of the diverse transport options of the Chilean armed forces, the work of the scientists could not be carried out. DLR‘s GARS O’Higgins station adjoins the Chilean Antarctic station Gen. Bernardo O’Higgins, which is operated by the Chilean army. In the course of the years an excellent neighborly relationship has arisen between the two stations. Accordingly, the awards were presented to the head of the Antarctic division of the Chilean Army, Colonel Carlos Prado, to Captain Víctor Sepúlveda of the Chilean Navy, and to Air Force Colonel José Valenzuela.
Shortly before, the head of the Joint General Staff of the Chilean Armed Forces (Jefe del Estado Mayor Conjunto), Major General Hernán Mardones, sent off a new contingent of the Chilean armed forces to spend a year in the Antarctic operating the Chilean stations. This replacement of contingents takes place once a year.
A further honorary plaque was presented to Dr. José Retamales, Director of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (Instituto Antártico Chileno INACH) in grateful appreciation of many years of valuable cooperation and support.