Subscribe

BAMBERG, Germany — Four buses brought 126 members of the Vicenza, Italy, military community to Bamberg for a two-day tour of what’s to be their new home.

Arriving earlier this week, the officers, soldiers and military spouses of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s support, combat support and artillery units were shown everything that Warner Barracks has to offer.

“It’s the equivalent of a pre-deployment site survey,” Capt. Tom Donatelle, officer-in-charge of the Vicenza group for the tour, said of the chance to see their new installation before actually moving. “It’s been first-class the entire time. (U.S. Army Garrison — Bamberg staff) have been terrific. They’ve been supportive and helpful. It seems as if they’re just as excited to get us as we are to get here.”

Asked if the soldiers and families are welcoming the move, Donatelle said that many are, and understand it’s something that needs to be done.

“There’s always some level of uneasiness with a move — whether it’s your first or 101st,” Donatelle added. “But this tour is serving to alleviate a lot of that uneasiness.”

After arriving, the group was split into five smaller groups, with married soldiers or spouses touring together and single troops doing the same. Wednesday was the focal day, and it started with a welcome from the USAG Bamberg commander, Lt. Col. Mark Gatto.

From there, each group had a schedule laid out, seeing things such as housing, commissary and exchange facilities, schools and the fitness center. Tours of Warner and Bamberg proper were also given.

“I think it was a great idea to be given the chance to see the post before we got here. It’s not like it’s just one person making a move, it’s the whole unit. It’s good for all of us to see, because we’re going through this change together,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzalez, a married artillery section chief.

He pointed out that once the soldiers arrive they’ll be closer to training areas in Hohenfels and Grafenwöhr. That means, when field exercises come up they will not have to spend so much time away from their families.

Army spouse Jodi Glenn, married for 1½ years to another artillery staff sergeant, was excited about relocating.

“It’s much bigger and more spacious here. I think there will be more opportunities for us, and I already feel like it’s a friendlier community,” she said.

Most of the Bamberg-bound soldiers returned in April from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, and are scheduled to arrive here in late July or early August. Donatelle said the unit’s operational tempo and deployment schedule should allow them to make the move smoothly.

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