Vilseck club owner blames hip-hop music, store-bought alcohol for fights
VILSECK, Germany — Crunk and Dirty South hip-hop music along with store-bought liquor is the cause of recent violence involving U.S. soldiers here, claims the owner of a nightclub recently declared off-limits to 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldiers.
Wilhelm Von Gunter, owner of the Independence Club — the closest off-post bar to the 2nd Cav headquarters at Vilseck — said the unit banned its soldiers from entering the club five weeks ago after a series of fights involving U.S. soldiers inside the club and in the parking lot.
The fights inside happened after dancing soldiers crashed into one another to the beat of crunk and Dirty South music by artists such as Lil Scrappy and Three 6 Mafia, he said.
“This kind of music makes the problems. That is why I say no to this kind of music but everybody wants it,” he said.
Von Gunter said the 2nd Cav told him to stop playing “hard hard” music, stop opening the club on Wednesday nights, close by 3 a.m. on weekends and stop throwing all-you-can-drink parties.
Before the club was declared off-limits, it hosted Saturday night all-you-can-drink parties that cost 15 euros for males and 12 euros for females, said Von Gunter. But most of the problems were outside the club, he said.
“In my opinion, it is not the alcohol in the club. It is alcohol in cars. They drink during the drive to the clubs. When I clean up my parking lot in the morning I find a lot of bottles of alcohol that were bought on base,” he said.
Placing the Independence Club off-limits and forcing bars in downtown Vilseck to close by 1 a.m. is pushing problems with drunken soldiers into Weiden, Amberg and Nuremberg, he said.
He said he is waiting for word from the unit about when soldiers will be allowed to return to the club.
Wayne Marotto, a 1st Armored Division public affairs officer, who handles 2nd Cav media relations. He confirmed in an e-mail Tuesday that the Independence Club is “temporarily” off-limits to soldiers from the unit.
“The appropriate 2SCR (2nd Cav) Commander was forced to make this difficult decision due to his determination that the Independence Club did not provide an environment conducive to the good order and discipline of 2SCR soldiers,” Marotto said.
U.S. Army regulations allow any commander to place an establishment off-limits for a period of 45 days for the protection and welfare of personnel belonging to their unit, Marotto said.
Placing an establishment off-limits beyond 45 days requires a review by the European Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board and approval by a U.S. Army Garrison level commander, he said.
The Grafenwöhr Legal Center said Wednesday that no bars, including the Independence Club, are off-limits to soldiers from other units within U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr.