ILLESHEIM, Germany (May 21, 2021) – Task Force Fighting Eagles 2-1 General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division Soldiers arrived at Storck Barracks, Illesheim on their unit’s second rotation in support of Atlantic Resolve in April 2021.
After downloading gear and settling in at Storck Barracks, Illesheim, the Soldiers are starting to make Storck Barracks their home away from home.
One of the first initiatives of Task Force 2-1 Fighting Eagles was to pay homage and respect to fellow Soldiers for Memorial Day by renovating the entire memorial garden at the barracks.
Capt. Gustavo Maldonado, Charlie Company, 2-1 GSAB explained: “The renovation is part of an initiative by the 1st Infantry Division called ‘Victory Wellness.’ Its purpose is to set aside time for the Soldiers to examine their own physical, spiritual and social wellness.”
“With Memorial Day approaching, our battalion, Task Force Fighting Eagles took the opportunity to invest in our social wellness by taking care of the Memorial Garden at Illesheim,” he said. “We wanted to have Soldiers take ownership of our own footprint. While we are a rotational force, it is important for Soldiers to understand they are a part of the community and to understand the history of our current location.”
On May 21, the Soldiers went to work with shovels, spades, lawn mowers and more to clean, renovate, and beautify the memorial garden at the Illesheim installation. Aside from the obvious tasks such as mowing the grass and pruning trees, each company took on and completed the tedious task of renovating one of the individual memorials in the garden.
Soldiers scrubbed the stones with wire brushes, repainted the gold colored lettering on the stones and power washed the pavement around each of the six monuments. The gazebo and the archways also underwent wire brushing treatment and were freshly painted. Even the decorative chain link fencing received a new coat of paint.
“Today Team Storck is coming together again to make our community a better place to live and work. The mighty Demon Brigade, DPW, MWR, and the American Legion are working together as an awesome military community,” said Steve Borkowski, USAG Ansbach site manager. “This is what success looks like, everyone putting skin in the game, working together, and having fun. I’m very proud of our garrison team and our Demon partners.”
The American Legion Post 1982 and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) volunteers supported the initiative by staffing a table with refreshments and snacks. They also contributed substantially by donating materials. Kenneth Aungst, American Legion Post 1982, was excited, “I am just so happy they are doing this. This will give our Memorial Day ceremony here next week an honorable setting. It was well worth being out here early this morning with the flowers, the soil and the coffee.”
The Storck Barracks memorial garden is on the main axis between the hangars and shopping and living quarters. Soldiers walk through it daily on their way to and from work or the shoppette, and many may have wondered about the individual memorial stones there.
Maldonado took another step to connect the Soldiers with their temporary home: “In the afternoon, we took a moment to pause and reflect on the impact of the event. We walked through the park from entrance to exit and explained to the Soldiers the meaning behind each monument. We talked about the names and histories of the military units inscribed on the monuments, and how important it is to realize that we are part of a team and our memories live on through every one of us,” he said.