1st Armored Division officially leaves Germany for Texas

Color casing ceremony of the First Armored Division at the US Army Airfield in Wiesbaden, Germany, March 13, 2011.

From Mark Patton, Stars and Stripes:  After 40 years in Germany, 1st Armored Division headquarters soldiers will be trading in a diet of bratwurst and beer for one of Tex-Mex and barbeque.

“Old Ironsides,” as the division is nicknamed, was congressionally mandated in 2005 to relocate to Fort Bliss, Texas, from its home of the past 10 years in Wiesbaden. The division has been stationed in Germany since 1971.

A casing of the division’s colors occurred Friday at Wiesbaden Army Airfield to mark the 1st AD’s official transition stateside.

Although the familiar “Iron Soldiers” greeting, belted out during a salute, and the unit sleeve patch − jokingly referred to as “the Dorito patch” because of its triangular shape − will be notably absent in Wiesbaden, officials at Fort Bliss are ready to show the soldiers some hospitality.

Nearly $5 billion in construction projects are well under way at Fort Bliss, according to military officials, including a new 1st AD headquarters building slated to be completed this summer.

The cranes and construction crews should make 1st AD feel right at home, as Wiesbaden is also undergoing a $600 million overhaul in preparation for the arrival of the U.S. Army Europe headquarters.  (photo: AP)

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