Army has plan for soldiers told to vacate barracks
By MARK ST.CLAIR | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 25, 2008
The Army has come up with a plan to house 17 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, who were told they had to vacate their barracks rooms this week, Army leaders in Schweinfurt, Germany, said Thursday afternoon.
Maj. Eric Stetson, public affairs officer for the 2nd BCT, said the brigade’s enlisted leadership has a plan to alleviate the problem by moving some soldiers into hotels paid for by U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt. Others will move off post into private rental houses until they leave. Still others will move into other barracks.
On Thursday, Stars and Stripes reported that 17 soldiers from Schweinfurt were told they had to leave their barracks rooms because of planned renovations to the building but that the Army had not provided them with other housing arrangements.
When asked why the soldiers would think they had no place to stay only two days before they had to leave their barracks, Stetson said, “at that time [the leadership] may have not had a plan firmed up.”
Nonetheless, the soldiers will not be left out in the cold.
“No one is being asked to move out without a plan of where to put them,” Stetson said Thursday.
As of Thursday morning, the housing issue had not been resolved, according to one of the affected soldiers, Sgt. Joseph Walker. Attempts to reach Walker throughout the rest of the day, however, were unsuccessful.
The 17 soldiers, all from 1-18’s Company B, are set to rotate back to the States on Feb. 18. They are part of a unit that is currently at 135 percent strength, and are just a fraction of the 1,600 soldiers in the community set to leave within the coming weeks.
“We understand and appreciate the frustration on the part of our affected soldiers. We remain committed to helping our soldiers in every way possible to minimize the turbulence from overcrowding that will exist through the first half of February,” the battalion commander, Lt. Col. George Glaze, said in a statement released to Stars and Stripes on Thursday afternoon.
Glaze’s comments, released by the brigade’s public affairs office, continued, “There are challenges ahead of us but the chain of command will remain engaged, at all levels, by our soldiers’ sides overcoming challenges as they arise. We continue (our) mission with a primary focus on the constant care for our soldiers in all manners, whether in combat or in garrison Schweinfurt.”
If, for some reason, Dagger Brigade can’t house all the troops from Company B, one family in Stuttgart has offered to take in two or three of them.
“I’m prepared to pick up the slack if that is required,” said Charles R. Dunn, a retired soldier and employee of defense contractor L3 Communications. “And I don’t know where they have to fly out of, but I’d even get them to the airport if that needs to be done.”
Dunn and his wife, Carol, made a similar offer in July to an Army wife and toddler who for seven weeks were stranded at the Kristall Inn in Vilseck after her husband deployed.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing, soldiers to other soldiers,” Dunn said.
Stars and Stripes reporter Charlie Coon contributed to this story.