USAG Bavaria celebrates partnership by raising maypole

By Natalie SimmelMay 13, 2024

USAG Bavaria celebrates partnership by raising maypole
(Photo Credit: Ella Haendel) VIEW ORIGINAL

TOWER BARRACKS, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Commander Col. Kevin A. Poole, together with distinguished guests, celebrated the raising of the maypole at the parade field at Tower Barracks, May 8, 2024.

Traditionally on the first day of May, communities across Bavaria hoist a decorated maypole – the "Maibaum" or “May tree” – to usher in the coming of spring and warmer weather.

On May Day, spectators and participants wear traditional Bavarian attire and celebrate with music and dancing.

“Our tree here is a partnership tree that continues the tradition started here in Grafenwoehr by units of the past,” said Poole. “It symbolizes the countless friendships and excellent partnerships that the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria and all its tenant units have established here in the Oberpfalz with their German friends and partners since 1945.”

The USAG Bavaria partnership tree is decorated with ribbons and wreaths and features the crests of units stationed in USAG Bavaria and their local partner communities as a symbol of the German-American partnerships within USAG Bavaria.

This year an additional crest was added to the partnership tree. The crest of the city Nuremberg, which partnered with the 7th Army Training Command in 2023.

“Back in the day Nuremberg used to have a garrison with more than 30,000 U.S. Soldiers and never lost its importance for the United States Army and their community members here,” said Andre Potzler, 7th Army Training Command community relations officer. “That’s why we are really happy that their crest hangs on the partnership tree together with 7ATC’s today for the first time to showcase our partnership.”

The tree was donated by the local Federal Forest Office. The tree and the signs on it were prepared by the team of the garrison’s Directorate of Public Works.

“We are all here today to support the raising of the partnership tree as one big community, firefighters and Soldiers together,” says USAG Bavaria Fire Chief Josef Rodler. “Today is a special day because all our community representatives came here today to celebrate together: to celebrate partnership and togetherness. And the partnership tree symbolizes this connectivity and friendship, and it will be here for the next few months for all newcomers to see the friendships we have.”

Firefighters from the City of Grafenwoehr Volunteer Fire Department and the Tower Barracks USAG Bavaria fire department team put up the tree together with participating Soldiers.

USAG Bavaria celebrates partnership by raising maypole
(Photo Credit: Ella Haendel) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We heard that that would be a maypole event today, so we got some people together to come out and support,” says Spc. Jonathan Reece Richards, 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

Richards physically helped lift the tree.

“I have been to a maypole event last year outside in a town, and it’s just a really nice event that brings the communities together,” he said. “It brings the townspeople together and it brings even the bases together and it just allows everybody to do something fun. And it gives everybody the opportunity to have a good time.”

For more pictures of the event visit the USAG Bavaria flickr page.

USAG Bavaria celebrates partnership by raising maypole
(Photo Credit: Ella Haendel) VIEW ORIGINAL


Another long-standing tradition of May Day is the attempt by neighboring villages to steal one another’s maypoles in exchange for ransom. To date, the most spectacular theft occurred in 2004, when locals flying a helicopter took the maypole planted atop the Zugspitze – Germany’s highest peak.