AMBERG, Germany — On July 22, 2021, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment Commander Lt. Col. Mark Bush and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Carbone attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kennedy Sued II housing area and the induction of the new nearby traffic circle in Amberg. The event was hosted by Amberg Lord Mayor Michael Cerny.
Both locations are next to the former Pond Barracks, which served as home to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Cold War era from 1950 to 1992. By 1995 the last of the American military community left Amberg, but some of their facilities were incorporated into the Amberg community — such as parts of the old housing area, the church and a school. The regiment returned to Germany in 2006, where they are currently stationed in Rose Barracks, Vilseck.
The event began with the induction of the new traffic circle at the crossroad of Haager Weg, Gailoher Haupstrasse and Von-Scheffel-Strasse in Amberg. To commemorate the history of the area, the traffic circle was dedicated to everlasting German-American friendship.
“The presence of our American friends today shows us that even after such a long time the connectivity between the two parties is still strong as ever,” Cerny stated during opening remarks.
The traffic circle cost the city 950 thousand euros, and it relieves traffic on Kennedystrasse as an alternative traffic-light-free route leading from the housing area towards downtown. It has a 30m range, and the crosswalks are equipped with tactile guidance systems for the blind and visually impaired. Additionally, its heart showcases a sculpture by artists Hannah Regina Uber and Robert Diem.
The title of the sculpture is “Connected.” According to the artists, a net of wires symbolize the network that was established between the people of the different communities — as a whole bringing great stability and everlasting German-American friendship. Uber stated that she experienced many family bonds form between the two nations. Some of her friends even met their significant others in the former Pond Barrack.
The ceremony continued with the groundbreaking of the new Kennedy Sued II housing area. Future plans for the housing area include 28 building lots, where the Pond barracks used to be. “It is great to see that our former home is filled with life again and people living there,” Bush said.
According to Cerny, future building plans include available living space for all social classes. For instance, smaller areas will be reserved for tiny house projects. The construction plan also incorporates a women’s shelter, where the old military car wash used to be. The city of Amberg invested 2.1 million euros into the infrastructure of the project.
Cerny emphasized, “Americans still choose Amberg as their residence to life during their stay in Germany, because they cherish Amberg as the beautiful city that it is.” Bush added similar sentiments as he said, “The city of Amberg always was, and still is, a great place for us Americans. Our Soldiers and families love Amberg, its great history and culture, the restaurants and shopping opportunities, and especially the people.”
To conclude the event, the community leaders went to the Alte Kaserne, or “Old Barracks” — formerly part of the Pond Barracks, the facility is now a traditional German restaurant. During lunch, the group reminisced about the past. Cerny still remembers rattling drinking glasses from tanks roaming the roads, the singing of the Soldiers in the morning and the German-American Volksfest with delight from when he was younger and living in the area. Both parties say they look forward to the future, and Bush especially looks towards positive prospective projects and further relationship building between his unit and Amberg.
Editors Note: This article was written by Natalie Simmel / USAG Bavaria PAO intern.