GTA Tree Planting
U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Commander Col. Chris Sorenson (left) and Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, Joint Multinational Training Command, shovel dirt on to a newly-planted oak tree at a ceremony to celebrate the 100 years of Grafenwoehr Training Area, July 1, 2010.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - On July 2, a final tree was placed along Grafenwoehr's 100-year Allee in Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA), about 5 kilometers from Rose Barracks, and near Range 201. The stand of trees was placed to symbolize the success and close cooperation between the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Garrison and the Federal Forestry Office (FFO) at Grafenwoehr, a relationship spanning little more than half of the training area's 100-year history.

Brig. Gen. Steven L. Salazar, commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command and Col. Nils C. Sorenson, the garrison commander, grabbed shovels and leveled dirt around the roots of the lone tree. They were joined by guests that also participated in the planting ceremony; General Major Gerd Wessels of the Bundeswehr, Mayor Helmuth Wachter of the city of Grafenwoehr, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Philip D. Coker, and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) George H. Harmeyer.

"One-hundred years of training excellence, service and sacrifice, and now a tree is planted by a great team," said Salazar.

Since 1995, the Federal Forestry Office (FFO), under the direction of Ulrich Maushake, manages the Forestry Sustainment Program at Grafenwoehr, a program developed and funded by the U.S. Army and the German Federal Government. The program sustains, improves and conserves the natural environment, while optimizing training. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the FFO. It was established April 1, 1910.

Planting trees is a good way to illustrate the 100 year legacy, said Salazar. He thanked Maushake for this project and one that memorialized the fallen Soldiers of the Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

"Thirty-eight trees were placed at the monument of the fallen Soldiers for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment," he said. "It was a great symbol of the service and sacrifice of those 38 Soldiers, but also a tremendous demonstration to the 4,000 Soldiers of the Stryker Cavalry Regiment as they were preparing to go forward to Afghanistan, and to preserve freedom for all of us."

Close to 200 trees were planted in total, the species of Oak that are native to this region and some Red Oaks that are more likely to be found in the United States. The trees symbolize the bond developed between countries, a mutual respect and partnership acknowledged often, during Grafenwoehr's week of celebration.

"An oak will grow a very long time. It will provide a little shade on the tank trail," said Heiner Bruss, forest captain at the FFO, who served in the Bundeswehr in 1974-75. "In the day and in the night, we were glad for the shade, during those times. It's good for the U.S. Army and German Army."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16