By Mr. William B King (2nd Signal Brigade)June 23, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany -- The City of Worms said farewell to the U.S. Army's 5th Signal Command (Theater) when the unit moved to Mannheim in 1996, and, as the unit prepares to inactivate later this year, said farewell again at a ceremony June 21, 2017 in Worms.
5th Signal Cmd. was headquartered at Taukkunen Barracks in Worms from 1974 to 1996 and the unit has maintained a close partnership with the city ever since.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Worms city hall, Col. Rob Parker, commander of 5th Signal Cmd. and the U.S. Army Europe chief information officer/G-6, said it was the people of Worms that make the city special.
"From our earliest days here in your beautiful community, you reached out with the hand of friendship to the members of the command. The citizens of Worms are special and are the ones who truly give this city its well-deserved reputation as a welcoming and supportive community," Parker said.
Parker likened the inactivation to the end of a chapter, but not the end of the book.
"You will always be remembered fondly and have made a lasting and important impact on the lives of so many American service members, our civilian employees and their families who were always proud to call this city home," Parker said.
Several current and former 5th Signal Cmd. Soldiers and employees were on hand at the ceremony, including Jose Parent, a Department of the Army Civilian assigned to the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command TAC-Europe. Parent said he worked for 5th Signal Cmd. in Worms from 1989 to 1996 and recalled the closeness between the Army and the people of Worms.
"Of all the cities that I've lived in over the years, Worms is by far the friendliest. When you meet the people, they're just overly friendly and receptive, and want to help you," Parent said.
In his remarks Lord Mayor Michael Kissel of Worms spoke of the bonds formed between Americans and Germans through the years at events such as the German-American Friendship Festival, Backfischfest and New Year's reception, among others.
"Even after the troop drawdown and withdrawal of American troops from the City of Worms, those friendships were maintained," Kissel said.
Kissel noted how the Soldiers of 5th Signal Cmd. wore the dragon patch on their uniforms, taking the symbol of Worms with them wherever they went. Parker said over the years the unit's dragon patch became instantly recognized throughout the Army as symbolizing professional communications.
The 5th Signal Cmd. patch was authorized Oct. 24, 1994 by The Institute of Heraldry. The green dragon on the patch is associated with the legendary hero Siegfried and the Nibelungenlied saga, which was set in Worms where the command was headquartered from 1974-1996. Orange and white are colors of the Signal Corps, and the black lightning bolts symbolize the speed and power of electronic communications.
Following the ceremony at city hall Parker and Kissel unveiled a plaque of the 5th Signal Cmd. dragon on the main gate to the former Taukkunen Barracks.
"I can think of nothing more appropriate than bringing the dragon crest back home from where it came," Parker said.
5th Signal Cmd. will inactivate at a ceremony Aug. 4 in Wiesbaden. The inactivation is a result of directed funding and force structure cuts made throughout the Department of Defense announced November 2016. The Theater Signal Restructure and Reinvestment is NETCOM's effort to transform and streamline overseas theater Signal mission command structure. This plan eliminates a layer of mission command by consolidating support functions at the NETCOM headquarters elements and theater signal brigade, and reinvests manpower and resources into supporting five core functions -- network planning, network engineering, network operations, network intelligence and cybersecurity.
2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.