By Rabia Nombamba, U.S. Army Garrison AnsbachMay 19, 2008
ANSBACH, Germany - On the evening of May 14, 1,385 Soldiers, family members, civilians and local nationals of the Ansbach military community came together at Storck barracks to set the unofficial armed forces record for the largest yellow ribbon formation.
The previous record of approximately 800 people was set by the Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., in October 2005. The unofficial record is not registered with Guinness World Record.
Set up by the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, the Yellow Ribbon formation event featured a concert by country and western performer Granger Smith, prize drawings, children activities and food sales.
Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) staff handed out free yellow T-shirts to soldiers, family members and friends, civilians and local nationals as they lined up at approximately 5:45 p.m. to set up for the large yellow ribbon formation.
However, it was about more then breaking a record.
According to Dan Riley, Ansbach's director of FMWR, the event is a way to thank the military families for their commitment and increasing sacrifices as their Soldiers continue to perform their varied missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
"It's about the community, getting the community together and of course about the soldiers who are deployed and are getting deployed," added Case Malloy, FMWR recreation division chief.
The opportunity to come together and show unified support to their soldiers deployed in harms way was enthusiastically embraced by the entire community.
"The Yellow Ribbon event sort of gives us an opportunity to get together and show our support, not only of our spouses down range, but also of each other. That we're here for each other, we come together when we need to, and we help take care of each other. This is one of the big events brings us together. It's like one more milestone towards getting through the end of deployment. It was great, I loved it! I think it's fantastic," said Leeann Swartz, whose husband is currently deployed with 5-158th Aviation Regiment.
"Everybody comes together as one team. This is amazing about 1,400 people come out from one community. This is the biggest thing in our life... people are here about the troops who are downrange right now. We support them 100 percent in any way and form that we can," said Cpl. Ryan Cimbaljevich, of D Company, 412th Aviation Support Battalion.
Soldiers of the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade stationed in Ansbach-Katterbach and Illesheim, started their current deployment to Iraq in mid-2007.