Garmisch manager relinquishes command, retires after 30 years service
November 10, 2011
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- After capping a career of more than 30 years of civil service and being a member of the U.S. Army family since 1963, United States Army Garrison Garmisch Manager Karin H. Santos relinquished responsibility for the remote Alpine garrison to John M. Cavanaugh.
In a packed ceremony conducted in Mueller Fitness Center on Sheridan Kaserne here, Santos passed the garrison flag to Lt. Col Margaret Pratt, who together with Command Sgt. Major William Berrios represented USAG Grafenwoehr, the unit of authority over Garmisch. Senior leaders representing the U.S. Consulate and U.S. Forces Liaison Office in Munich, the Joint multinational Training Command, the George C. Marshall Center for International Studies, the NATO School in Oberammergau, as well as the mayors and senior German army leaders from the garrison's surrounding cities were in attendance. A number of German and American retired officers, two former garrison managers and many local national retirees were also present to honor Santos.
In a special tribute, the Gebirgsmusikkorps band that shares Artillery Kaserne with the American community played martial music and performed the Bavarian anthem and the national anthems of Germany and the United States.
"When you look at USAG Garmisch's accomplishments over the last few years, it's apparent that Ms. Santos and her team have contributed vastly to the overall USAG Grafenwoehr enterprise and the Army team," said Pratt. "Under Ms. Santos' leadership, this remote garrison in the shadow of the mighty German Alps has been recognized by higher headquarters for everything from their forward-thinking training concepts to top-notch troop preparation and active family and unit support."
Some of the accomplishments of note during Santos' tenure include the IMCOM Europe Soldier and NCO of the Year, the standing up of an Army Community Service office that scored a perfect 100 percent on its first triennial certification, and achieving a higher level of cooperation with the tenant units on everything from difficult media inquiries to an H1N1 quick response team, said Pratt.
Following the ceremony many of the participants joined the garrison employees in bidding farewell to Santos at a retirement luncheon in the Patton Ballroom of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.
In a final surprise salute as the luncheon concluded, the band again performed a serenade outside the hotel for Santos and her husband Frank, himself a retiree and one of the original U.S. Army's famed Green Berets. Part of the performance was a combination of two special Bavarian quartets and a unit of Alpenhorns trading off portions of the serenade with the full band, a highly charged emotional moment for Santos and many of her guests.
The Santos' will retire to the Hudson River Valley in New York state, where they will focus on being mentors and role models for their grandchildren.