By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Public Affairs September 24, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- In an effort to promote solidarity within the Bavaria Military Community, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr officially became U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria at a designation ceremony, here, Sept. 24, outside the Tower Barracks Headquarters Building.
The event was intimate and dignified with Joachim Herrmann, Bavarian State Minister of the Interior, Kathleen Marin, region director, Installation Management Command-Europe, and Brig. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, commander of the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command, in attendance.
Col. James Saenz, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, and USAG Bavaria's Command Sgt. Maj. William Berrios, began by casing the USAG Grafenwoehr colors with support from the garrison color guard. The casing was immediately followed by the uncasing of the USAG Bavaria colors.
The transition from USAG Grafenwoehr to USAG Bavaria, said Marin, is much more than just a name change.
"We are enshrining an extraordinary legacy while acknowledging the importance of this community," said Marin. "IMCOM Europe is preparing for the future today by consolidating, divesting and investing right here in Europe.
"Consolidation not only decreases the space between us, it decreases our costs, our footprint, and it increases our sustainability," she said.
Col. James Saenz, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, said the transition also reflects how U.S. Army Europe and IMCOM-Europe are streamlining their organizations into more efficient support structures for a leaner, more adaptable force.
"As we transform, it is imperative that we take deliberate steps to meet the needs of our community across the entire enterprise," said Saenz. "Together, we truly will be the Bavaria Military Community."
Saenz said the key to success throughout the transformation lies in the empowerment of leaders and the workforce, stressing quality customer service, communicating best practices and customer expectations. Ensuring Soldiers' needs are being met, both downrange and at home, is also a top priority.
"As you look around, you will see we are enabling the Bavaria Military Community to be ready and resilient," said Saenz.
While the ceremony sought to bring together garrisons in Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels and Garmisch, it also strengthened international relations.
"I would like to say how very grateful I am to members of the German military and government, as well as our community neighbors, who took time to celebrate this special day with us," said Saenz, addressing the German dignitaries in attendance.
"Everyone's presence here today illustrates the close relationships that we have, and will continue to build. You, too, are part of the Bavaria Military Community."
Herrmann echoed Saenz's sentiment.
"Bavaria has traditionally enjoyed very close relations with our American friends. Especially here, at the U.S. installation in Grafenwoehr, which has been under American administration for almost 70 years," said Herrmann. "We enjoy an excellent partnership that goes above and beyond just military issues."