By Mr. Nathan Van Schaik (IMCOM)December 10, 2013
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- When the garrison manager and a group of kids flipped the switch that lit the tree on Ledward Barracks Dec. 5, it marked the 68th and final time the U.S. Army will have celebrated the holidays here.
"It's been a busy year," said Brian Adkins, the garrison manager, addressing a crowd that included Soldiers, families and local officials such as Schweinfurt's lord mayor, Sebastian Remelé.
In the past year the garrison supported the 15th Engineer Battalion and 1-91 Cavalry Regiment move to Grafenwoehr, and helped inactivate the remaining battalions of the 172nd Infantry Brigade.
"But as a community, we have persevered through it all," said Adkins.
In total, the Schweinfurt military community has decreased in the past year by as many as 5,000 Soldiers, family members and civilian employees. In fact, since closure was announced in February 2012, Schweinfurt's Army garrison has moved out more than 3,350 Soldiers to 12 different countries and well over 60 posts worldwide, according to numbers released by Schweinfurt's military personnel division.
The holidays provide the opportunity to reflect on the blessings enjoyed in the past year, said Adkins, adding, "they also give us the time to set fresh goals and plans for the future."
In the next six months the garrison's remaining large elements -- the 7th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, the 18th Engineer Brigade and the 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion -- will all inactivate.
But despite the looming closure and the eventual departure of the remaining military community members, the garrison's tree lighting kicked off a holiday season marked by a full list of events and trips geared toward those of all ages and groups.
Dubbed the "Winter Event Wrap-up," this year's list includes classes, trips, youth camps and more.
Notable happenings include Winterfest on Jan. 31, a wide-range of Christmas markets, off-post happenings, and multiple ski and snowboard day and night trips hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Center.