VILSECK, Germany, Sept. 18, 2006 – Another piece of U.S. Army, Europe's ongoing transformation fell into place during ceremonies welcoming its newest warriors, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, here Sept. 15. About 3,000 regiment soldiers uncased the unit's colors at Vilseck Army Airfield here during a ceremony marking the 2nd Cavalry's return to Germany after a 14-year absence and the arrival of the first Stryker unit in Europe.
The cavalry regiment will provide USAREUR the Army's most mobile and modern combat system, one that also will benefit U.S. European Command and NATO, said Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, USAREUR's commanding general.
"Putting the 2nd SCR here reaffirms our strong commitment to NATO and our European allies whom we have a long history of sharing our assets with," McKiernan said. "Positioning the regiment here will help to strengthen our ties (within theater)."
Previously, the regiment was based at Fort Lewis, Wash., as part of the 25th Infantry Division, but now falls under the 1st Artillery Division.
The unit's 300 Stryker vehicles were moved to Bremerhaven, Germany, in late July before being shipped on railroad cars to Vilseck, near the Joint Multinational Training Command headquarters. The regiment plans to use the Grafenwoehr training area as its training facility.
The result, McKiernan said, "will be expeditionary training and operational readiness that can be exported throughout the U.S. European Command's area of operations."
"I believe that joint training and mutual understanding between soldiers of different NATO members are crucial to joint foreign deployments that establish and preserve peace," said Dr. Edmund Stoiber, Bavarian minister-president.
The welcoming ceremony marked the end of a year-long transition period, said 2nd SCR commander, Col. John RisCassi. "Very shortly, we will be moving out into the training areas," he said.
RisCassi also noted his unit's strong ties to Germany, particularly in Bavaria. "The 2nd SCR has a historical connection to Germany, and this regiment has a strong sense of heritage," the colonel said. "That is one of the reasons this regiment was tapped to return here."
Stoiber agreed wholeheartedly, saying, "The U.S. Army and Bavaria have been closely connected for 60 years and cannot be separated."