Story by Spc. Hannah Tarkelly, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP AACHAN, Germany – U.S. Soldiers attended the grand opening of the Camp Aachen Annex as part of the USO’s Holiday for Heroes program, Dec. 19, 2018.
The Camp Aachen Annex is an extension of the Camp Aachen USO built for the arrival of approximately 3,500 Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. These incoming Soldiers are deployed in Germany in support of Atlantic Resolve, an enduring training exercise between U.S. and NATO forces.
Once the ribbon was cut, the doors to the annex were flooded with Soldiers eager to utilize the newest addition to the USO. Laughter, smiles and music filled the room as Soldiers and USO members celebrated the opening of the annex.
“During the holidays when stuff like this is open it just reminds us that even though our families are not here that we still have a family within each other,” said U.S. Army Spc. Wilfrantz Cadet assigned to 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st ABCT, 1st CD. “In times like these it really brings us together.”
Allowing Soldiers to be connected to their loved ones, home and country during the holidays is essential to morale. Therefore, the primary focus was to provide soldiers with an additional place that felt like home when home was half a world away.
“It’s a home away from home,” said Walter Murren, the USO regional vice president.
During the cold winter season, the annex provides a warm place to relax, eat food and drink some refreshments.
The USO has also worked to provide Soldiers the ability to connect with their family and friends back home through Internet capabilities, electronic charging stations, phone calls and cable television.
“We are their connectivity to family, home and country,” Murren said.
The USO continues to make an effort to support Soldiers across the world especially during the holiday season.
“They are the heroes that we are supporting during the holidays,” Murren said.