By Sgt. Elizabeth A. SheridanJanuary 10, 2008
FRIEDBERG, Germany (Army News Service, Jan.10, 2008) - The voice of Elvis Presley echoed through Ray Barracks one last time Monday, returning for a brief moment to his old military stomping grounds.
With Presley's "Hound Dog" reverberating off the cement walls, Lt. Col. Thomas Salo, commander, 102nd Signal Battalion, and Jeurgen Jaeger, 102nd Signal Bn., shut off the main power supply to the KN-4100 telephone switch during a closing ceremony for building 3705 on Ray Barracks.
The barracks were "The King's" home in Friedberg from October 1958 to March 1960 when he served as a member of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division during his tour in the U.S. Army.
"The historical aspects of this post warranted a ceremony, here in this former home of Elvis," said Salo. "Thousands and thousands of people were able to communicate from lines connected to this building; it is the end of an era."
The massive telephone switch, installed in 1986, enabled 102nd Signal Battalion to provide communications to the Friedberg and Giessen military communities with 400 DSN lines and 20 commercial lines. By 1996 the capacity was bumped up to1400 DSN lines and 40 commercial lines.
"This is not the first communications site to close, and it will not be the last," said Salo.
The garrison closure ceremony for U.S. Army Garrison Giessen, which encompassed Ray Barracks, was held Sept. 28, 2007. And 3705 is the last building on Ray Barracks to be turned over to the Department of Public Works for release back to the host nation, explained James Neufeld, chief of the Operations Management Cell in Hanau.
"It is fitting that commo is the first in and last out," said Salo. "We do not turn off until the last customer is gone. They're gone, so its time to flip the switch."
(Sgt. Elizabeth A. Sheridan serves as NCOIC for 5th Signal Command Public Affairs.)