Bamberg community preparing for 1st ID troops' return
February 15, 2005
BAMBERG, Germany — After a year in a combat zone, single soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division are finding that someone has left the light on for them.
Family readiness groups decorated the barracks and made the beds so that weary soldiers — including those from the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment — can get some much-needed sleep after two days of traveling.
The unit’s rear detachment is coordinating the delivery of household goods and vehicle pick-up for the soldiers as soon as possible after their return.
It’s a lot of work for the rear detachment’s skeleton crew and the family readiness groups, but no one seems to be complaining.
“We aren’t worried so much about our time,” said Staff Sgt. James Davis, Battery C family readiness leader. “It doesn’t really matter if we are working until 8 some nights; these guys have been working 24-7 for the last year. We don’t want them to have to worry about if the bed is made or if the light bulb has burned out.”
Some soldiers arranged to have their stored belongings delivered while they were still deployed. The rear detachment set up transportation office appointments for those troops as soon as they are manifested on a return flight, said Capt. Matt Davenport, 1-6 Field Artillery rear detachment commander.
“All of the soldiers were given the opportunity to have their household goods delivered a few weeks prior to their return,” he said. “Some have done that, and others have decided to wait until they get back.”
On other deployments, 1-6 Field Artillery soldiers left their belongings in the room, and it was sealed to prevent anyone from entering. On this deployment, the barracks were renovated while the soldiers were gone, so the household goods had to be stored.
The soldiers’ vehicles are stored on Warner Barracks. Before they can pick them up, the soldiers must watch a driving safety video that contains winter driving tips and reminds soldiers that they are not in Iraq anymore.
“They have been driving in Iraq for a year,” Davenport said. “The video reminds them that there are no (improvised explosive devices) in Germany.
“It’s OK for other cars to pass you here.”
The goal is for soldiers to get their cars on the first or second day home so they can drive to the reintegration training at various locations on Warner Barracks, Davenport said.
Volunteers put signs on the door of each room to greet the soldiers by name, and a care package with snack food and personal hygiene items was placed on every bed. The final touch, a plastic rose or mint, was placed on each pillow, said Christie Kurczak, Service Battery Family Readiness Group.
“It’s our way of saying we appreciate all that they did over this last year,” she said.
“The soldiers will really appreciate that,” Davenport said. “The first thing they will want to do is rack out.”