By. Capt. Taylor Criswell
BAD WINDSHEIM, Germany – U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, currently on rotation to Europe for Atlantic Resolve, took an opportunity last week to build community relations and internal comradery by entering the annual Bad Windsheim Wine Tower Run on March 20.
Col. Reggie Harper, Command Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Murphy and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Scott Durrer ran in the race, as did other leaders from the brigade.
1st Lt. Will Derrick of Charlie Company, 2-227, an avid athlete who competed in the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship last September, also participated in the Wine Tower Run with Air Cav and was impressed with the layout of the event.
“It was interesting to get to run through the historic areas of Bad Windsheim,” said Derrick. “It was cool to see the town come out and support the race, and you could tell they had a lot of pride in their event.”
Although there are not currently permanent-party Soldiers stationed at Storck Barracks near Bad Windsheim, there were for many years. Each rotational Army aviation unit has done its part to maintain strong relationships with the surrounding communities.
Storck Barracks has been the home to the Atlantic Resolve rotational aviation forces since 2017. But, for many years prior, Storck housed the 11th Aviation Brigade, during which time the American Soldiers were very much a part of the local communities.
“It is important for us as the rotational units to remember that we are guests in these communities,” explained Maj. Kurt Hunt, Brigade Executive Officer, and former semi-pro and All-Army soccer star who also ran in the race. “Participating in events like this allows us to interact with the public positively and enhance the already strong bond between the U.S. Army and the people of Germany.”
2022 was the first time the race was able to happen since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a challenge since COVID for Soldiers to interact with the community.
“I have encountered nothing but exceptional people here in Germany,” said Capt. Chuck Leonard, AH64 pilot and adjutant to the brigade commander. “We are lucky to be stationed in such a supportive area where the locals welcome us into their community. This race was just one example of the meaningful and mutually embracing bonds we share with the people here in Middle Franconia.”
Races and community engagements are slowly repopulating as restrictions gradually become sparser in the region.
“This was a great way to meet the people whose country we are visiting,” Derrick mentioned. “It removes a lot of the mystery and unknowns about us and provides us the chance to interact as regular people.”