By 1LT Carolyn Stankiewicz, A Co Executive Officer, 44th ESBJuly 23, 2013
The 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, or ESB, is a growing presence in the USAG Grafenwoehr area since moving from Schweinfurt in June 2012. Now the "Outstanding" Battalion has extended its footprint to the local town of Pressath. The 44th ESB has officially become partners with the community.
The172nd Infantry Brigade deactivation has increased the opportunities for new units to support local on and off post organizations. With the casing of 3-66th AR's colors also came the relinquishing of the unit's longtime fellowship with Pressath. Lt. Col. Robert A. Fago, commander of the 44th ESB, understands the importance of such fellowships, and eagerly sought the opportunity to get his unit involved.
On 14 May 2013, Fago briefed the Pressath Town Council on the Battalion's mission, capabilities and journey leading to the uncasing of the Battalion colors in Grafenwoehr. Following the briefing, viewed in both English and German, the town council voted for the partnership with the 44th ESB and the decision was unanimous. Pressath formally established their partnership with the 44th ESB.
The Pressath Council is excited to work with the 44th ESB in the coming years. Mayor Konrad Merkl expressed his excitement of building bridges between American and German citizens. He sees this opportunity as a way to "maintain and strengthen relations with the military training area and boundary community of Pressath."
Amongst many future plans, the first partnership event took place a few weeks later. Fago, joined by Mrs. Fago, the Battalion Executive Officer, Battalion Plans Officer and Battalion Command Sergeant Major, along with a few company leaders, joined the Mayors for a Partnership Fest. The Sunday morning event started in true Bavaria fashion, with a traditional "keg tapping" executed by Fago. Once the beer was flowing, Fago and Third Mayor Werner Walberer signed a partnership deed, making the new collaboration official. The commander and mayor also exchanged a military unit crest and Pressath city flag, along with a glass coat of arms. The rest of the day was spent enjoying Germany delicacies and new friends.
This unique partnership is not only across a military-civilian relationship, but a relationship between countries. This is an opportunity to create ties with local organizations and strengthen relations with the host nation.
With the realignment of the U.S. Army in Europe, it is assuring to know that USAG Grafenwoehr is an enduring post with enduring units and the 44th ESB-Pressath Partnership is proof.