Stryker unit now calls Germany 'home'
September 18, 2006
VILSECK, Germany (Army News Service, Sept. 18, 2006) - Another piece of U.S. Army, Europe's ongoing transformation fell into place Sept. 15 during ceremonies welcoming USAREUR's newest warriors, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.<br/><br/>Guests of honor - including Gen. David D. McKiernan, USAREUR's commanding general; Maj. Gen. Fred D. Robinson, 1st Armored Division commanding general; William R. Timken Jr., U.S. ambassador to Germany; and Dr. Edmund Stoiber, Bavarian Minister-President - joined 3,000 Soldiers from the 2nd SCR as they uncased the unit's colors at Vilseck Army Airfield.<br/><br/>The ceremony marked the return of the 2nd Cavalry to Germany after a 14-year absence, and the arrival of the first Stryker unit in Europe.<br/><br/>The 2nd SCR will provide USAREUR with the Army's most mobile and modern combat system, one that also will benefit U.S. European Command and NATO, McKiernan said.<br/><br/>"Putting the 2nd SCR here reaffirms our strong commitment to NATO and our European allies," McKiernan said, "whom we have a long history of sharing our assets with. Positioning the regiment here will help to strengthen our ties (within theater)."<br/><br/>Previously, the regiment was based at Fort Lewis, Wash., as part of the 25th Infantry Division, but now falls under the 1st AD.<br/><br/>Three hundred Stryker vehicles were moved to Bremerhaven, Germany, in late July before being shipped on railroad cars to Vilseck, near Joint Multinational Training Command headquarters.<br/><br/>Now the 2nd SCR plans to use JMTC's Grafenwoehr Training Area as its backyard playing field.<br/><br/>The result, McKiernan said, "will be expeditionary training and operational readiness that can be exported throughout the European Command's area of operations."<br/><br/>Stoiber echoed the general's sentiments: "I believe that joint training and mutual understanding between Soldiers of different NATO members are crucial to joint foreign deployments that establish and preserve peace."<br/><br/>The welcome home ceremony marked the end of a year-long transition period, said 2nd SCR commander, Col. John RisCassi, who added, "Very shortly, we will be moving out into the training areas."<br/><br/>RisCassi also noted his unit's strong ties to Germany, particularly in Bavaria.<br/><br/>"The 2nd SCR has a historical connection to Germany, and this regiment has a strong sense of heritage," the colonel said. "That is one of the reasons this regiment was tapped to return here."<br/><br/>Stoiber agreed wholeheartedly, saying, "The U.S. Army and Bavaria have been closely connected for 60 years and cannot be separated."<br/><br/>See related: <a href = "http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php'story_id_key=9514">Extreme Makeover</a>