Soldier pushes for new facilities, turns dirt at ceremony
February 17, 2012
ANSBACH, Germany --- U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Soldiers participated via video teleconference in a U.S. Army Europe community forum Feb. 2 hosted by the USAREUR commanding general.
"I was lucky enough to be one of the people in attendance," said Sgt. Jeremiah Rich with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.
During the question and answer portion of the forum, Rich stood up and asked "about getting some new barracks for our single Soldiers," he said.
The commanding general turned the question over to the garrison commander for a response.
Rich, who does not live in the barracks himself, raised the question after visiting the quarters of his single-Soldier counterparts on the garrison.
"Right now some of the barracks are a little old, a little dingy, harder to maintain than a few years ago," he said. "It is my opinion that Soldiers deserve a little better than that."
After the town hall drew to a close, Col. Kelly Lawler, USAG Ansbach commander, explained to Rich that the garrison is actually in the process of constructing brand new barracks. Rich's question was timely; Lawler invited him to attend the upcoming barracks groundbreaking ceremony. Eight days after Rich raised his concern at the town hall meeting, the Ansbach community gathered at the site of the future $15.3 million, 118-room barracks.
In minus-9-degree Celsius weather, Rich together with representatives from USAG Ansbach, the Nuremburg Bauamt, the contractor Peter Gross and USACE broke ground on the project at Bismark Kaserne.
"Today we dedicate the land to build and improve the infrastructure with these new barracks," Lawler said.
The modern barracks will be constructed to the standard 1+1 unaccompanied personnel housing design, Walter Bogdanow, a USACE civil engineer explained.
"For the non-engineers out there, this means two Soldiers will share a suite of two separate, private living and sleeping rooms connected by a bathroom and service area, which has a sink, counter, refrigerator and space for a microwave," he said.
Soldiers, who volunteer their service to their country, will deservingly call these new barracks home, Lawler said.
"That 1 percent of the population of the United States that volunteers to protect and defend our country, those keepers of peace and the Army's most precious resource … are here in spirit and in person today," he said.
Today's Soldiers want a little more privacy, Rich explained. These barracks, designed to have more personal space, will give them that privacy.
"I think culturally, if we go back 50 or 60 years we had Soldiers living in open bays with 20 on one side and 20 on the other. And as we continue to progress, as does our culture, people like to have their independent space," Lawler said. "I think these barracks will afford our Soldiers that opportunity."
To bring the barracks to fruition, USAG Ansbach, USACE and the Nuremburg Bauamt will rely on the strong partnership they have formed, explained Klaus Gerstendorff, Nuremburg Bauamt director.
Gerstendorff likened the partnership to a soccer match.
"We are not playing against each other; we are one team," he said. "The team has to have good cooperation to work together."
Like in any major game, there is a moving target -- things like bad weather can get in the way, the team must react to and overcome these challenges together, Gerstendorff explained.
"The best [soccer] match is finished with no fouls, no penalties and no injuries. The same is true with construction," he said.
As the Ansbach community continues to develop and progresses as an enduring garrison "bonds must be developed and honed," Lawler said.
"The only way you can grow is to have partners in that growth," he added.
Editor's note: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District is also in the process of constructing new 1+1 standard barracks for customers in Kaiserslautern, Grafenwoehr and Vilseck, Germany.