Support our mission
Soldiers from the 69th Signal Battalion unfurl the unit’s colors at the Grafenwöhr parade field Tuesday. The battalion is moving to Grafenwöhr from Würzburg as the base prepares for the arrival of more than 3,500 soldiers and 5,000 family members in the next two years.

Soldiers from the 69th Signal Battalion unfurl the unit’s colors at the Grafenwöhr parade field Tuesday. The battalion is moving to Grafenwöhr from Würzburg as the base prepares for the arrival of more than 3,500 soldiers and 5,000 family members in the next two years. ()

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The 69th Signal Battalion is moving to Grafenwöhr earlier than most Army units because it needs to help get the base ready for the influx of 3,500 soldiers and 5,000 family members by 2008.

To cater to the new arrivals, the Army is spending $600 million to hard-wire facilities with a state- of-the-art communications infrastructure, and that’s why the signal battalion needs to be here first.

“The reason to have us here at the start is so that as all the new facilities are being built, we can work with the garrison making sure all the connectivity is put in at the start,” Maj. Brad Davis, the 69th’s executive officer, said Tuesday. “It is a lot more costly to retrofit buildings.”

The battalion held a ceremony Tuesday to uncase the unit’s colors.

Lt. Col. Scott D. Baer, who took command of the 69th following the uncasing ceremony, said his unit provides communication support to units training to deploy out of Europe. “We also provide all the base communications for Grafenwöhr, Hohenfels, Würzburg, Bamberg, Vilseck and Schweinfurt,” he said.

The 69th will support the Joint Multinational Training Command as well as the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, which recently arrived at nearby Vilseck, he said.

Single soldiers from the unit will live in recently renovated barracks on Grafenwöhr’s main post while families will live in both on- and off-post housing, he said.

The unit will also bring about 13 civilian employees and 40 family members to Grafenwöhr, he said.

The 69th’s outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Michael T. Kell, said the battalion would move all its personnel from Würzburg to Grafenwöhr by December.

One of the 69th’s soldiers, Staff Sgt. Lidia Smith, 34, of Ash Flat, Ark., said she was scheduled to move from Würzburg along with her three children on Aug. 1, but that she was not looking forward to it.

“There is nothing here, and there is no high school in Grafenwöhr. In Würzburg, it was convenient because everything is on post. There are two swimming pools 10 minutes away on post at Kitzingen … and a golf course,” she said.

author picture
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.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up