GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — U.S. personnel here will have to wait until October to get more free Armed Forces Entertainment acts, according to Grafenwöhr Morale, Welfare and Recreation chief Audre Binder.

At a town hall meeting in Vilseck in January, Binder told locals that a limited number of free entertainment acts were booked for this fiscal year (from Oct. 1, 2006 to Sept. 30, 2007) because the base was in transition with the arrival of the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment from Fort Lewis, Wash.

“We erred on the side of caution and opted out of some entertainment during the transition. Now we have people in place and have some visibility on the training cycle, we are working with Armed Forces Entertainment to build our schedule for this year,” Binder said at the meeting.

Marine Capt. Jesse Davidson, AFE circuit manager for Europe and the Mediterranean, said in an e-mail last week that the only AFE event scheduled for Vilseck so far this year is a puppet show in April.

Davidson said his office lost contact with Grafenwöhr officials over winter and had no replies to offers of entertainment sent between October and February. However, communication has been re-established and the garrison is on the list for future shows, he said.

Binder said Wednesday that the lull in the schedule at Grafenwöhr will last until the end of September.

“The one request AFE is reporting is based upon the request we submitted in March 2006 – months before we had visibility on the military unit training schedules. We erred on the side of caution so as to not bring in an act only to find there was no audience,” she said.

Despite the lack of AFE events, which are free, MWR is planning a number of other pay-to-see shows within U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr – which includes Grafenwöhr, Vilseck and Hohenfels, Binder said.

The planned shows include: comedian Mike Epps in June as well as rhythm-and-blues, golden-oldies, country and rock bands, she said.

Entertainment can include events such as a recent Texas Hold ’Em card tournament held at Vilseck’s The Zone sports bar or watching competitive sports such as the Army Europe Ten-Miler at Grafenwöhr this year, Binder said.

The garrison also typically hosts 4th of July events, a luau in Vilseck, a Volksfest in Grafenwöhr, two Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and a host of minor events such as BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers) sound offs, car shows and paintball tournaments, she said.

“It is not always about bands. It is not always about stand up comedy,” she said.

The lack of on-post entertainment had nothing to do with a spate of off-post assaults last year, Binder said.

Grafenwöhr MWR this month sent AFE its wish list for entertainment in the 2007/2008 fiscal year, she said. The list includes 28 bands playing music that ranges from rap and heavy metal to punk and jazz, as well as comedians, dancers, magicians and motivational speakers. Binder stressed that the garrison does not expect to get everything it has requested.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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