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15th Eng. Bn. uncases colors in Grafenwoehr

July 10, 2013

By Jeremy S. Buddemeier, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr welcomed its newest tenants, Soldiers and family members of the 15th Engineer Battalion, during the unit's uncasing ceremony on the Tower Barracks Parade Field, here, July 9.

Prior the ceremony, the mood was jovial. Soldiers chatting quietly while standing at ease, and family members hovered in clusters near their seats.

Then, just after the emcee 1st Lt. Geoffrey Hewitt gave the two-minute warning, Soldiers snapped to attention, and, as if choreographed, the wind picked up, whipping flags from the 50 states that formed a backdrop behind the formation.

Though the entire ceremony took less than an hour, preparation for the unit's relocation started more than nine months ago when the first Soldiers arrived in Grafenwoehr from U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt, according to Col. Scott A. Petersen, commander, 18th Engineer Brigade.

"I know (the transition) hasn't been easy, but you made it look easy," said Petersen, addressing the Soldiers on the field.

Battalion Commander Lt. Col. James Schultze also thanked his Soldiers and their families for their hard work, and expressed gratitude to members of the garrison, which he said he had leaned on heavily during the transition.

"We hope to make up for that hospitality with quality construction and by being good neighbors in the community," Schultze said.

According to a fact sheet provided by the unit, the 15th Eng. Bn. was established during World War I and was most recently reactivated as part of the 18th Engineer Brigade in July 2008 in Schweinfurt.

In October 2010, it deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom. During deployment, the battalion planned, coordinated and executed force protection construction, base expansion and quality of life improvements throughout Kuwait and Afghanistan. It redeployed to Schweinfurt in October 2011.

According to Schultze, the relocation to Grafenwoehr involved approximately 500 Soldiers and their families.

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