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An advance party from the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, which is due to move to Grafenwöhr and Vilseck, Germany, from Fort Lewis, Wash., this summer, was impressed with the facilities in the area. This Stryker is based in Fort Richardson, Alaska.

An advance party from the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, which is due to move to Grafenwöhr and Vilseck, Germany, from Fort Lewis, Wash., this summer, was impressed with the facilities in the area. This Stryker is based in Fort Richardson, Alaska. (U.S. Army)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Facilities here impressed an advance party from the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, which is due to move to nearby Vilseck from Fort Lewis, Wash., this summer.

Grafenwöhr Garrison officials, who also oversee Vilseck, are hard at work preparing for the regiment — also known as the Stryker Brigade Combat Team — which includes more than 3,500 soldiers and thousands of family members.

I Corps and Fort Lewis public affairs chief of external communication Joseph Piek said the 26-person advance party visited Grafenwöhr and Vilseck for four days last month to touch base with various offices and agencies.

“The goal was to help ensure minimal stress and turbulence during the transition for the soldiers and families of the brigade once they begin arriving in Germany this summer,” he said.

The team was happy with what it found at Vilseck and within U.S. Army Europe, he said.

“We appreciate the open arms approach that all of USAREUR are taking in the preparation of Vilseck for our arrival and ensuring all of our soldiers and families are taken care of,” he said.

The facilities at Vilseck were “top notch,” Piek said. “With the construction that is currently ongoing, the future of the SBCT looks bright.”

For example, the fitness facilities within Grafenwöhr Garrison were some of the best in the Army and would help support the soldiers with their rigorous training, said Piek, who also praised the garrison’s medical facilities, schools at Vilseck and a new Post Exchange being built at Grafenwöhr.

“In regards to training, the great aspect of Vilseck is that we will have a training area in our backyard. In all, the leaders and soldiers are excited about the quality of life that the Vilseck community has to offer,” he said.

One item that came out of the visit was increased awareness of the need to train soldiers on driving the Strykers in Europe, Piek said, adding that it was something any unit deploying overseas needed to do and something that would help establish a good relationship with neighbors.

“Germany will be a great tour for the soldiers and officers because it offers great opportunities for off-duty time,” Piek said. “Most of the soldiers will find that being stationed in Germany is a very rewarding experience that they will remember for the rest of their careers.”

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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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