The largest training facility of the United States located in Europe is Grafenwoehr Training Area (GTA). If you were ever stationed in Germany, you probably heard about GTA or Graf. It is 90 square miles and includes live fire training areas. Located in eastern Bavaria, Germany, it was created to train the III Royal Bavarian Corps soldiers. In 1907, approximately 58 small villages (37 square miles) were cleared to establish the training area. Over 3,500 people were evicted in 1938 for the Germans to claim 52 more square miles for training. During World War II, the Nazi unified armed forces practiced blitzkrieg tactics. After World War II, the U.S. Army occupied the area. Today, the lie fire and maneuver ranges support U.S., NATO, and partner nation live fire qualifications from small arms to tanks, artillery, aerial gunnery and close air support.
This week we salute Charles Roepke. Charles served in the U.S. Army from 1985 to 1989. His military occupational specialty was 63T, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems mechanic. The mechanic’s duties are to perform maintenance on the improved tow vehicles, infantry fighting vehicle, cavalry fighting vehicle, fire support vehicle, multiple launch rocket system, and the family of light armored vehicles. He was assigned to 1/ 11 Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) based at the Fulda Gap, Germany. The ACR utilized GTA for their field maneuvers. Charles ensured his until had a 100% pass rate and received several letters of commendation. After leaving the Army, Charles purchased land at Wild Horse Ranch and upon his retirement from his civilian job, he and his wife and son moved to Forsyth in 2019. He is married to the lovely Luz, and they have 4 children. Asked what he is most proud of and he will tell you it was maxing the Physical Training (PT) tests and performing 200 push ups in 2 minutes.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson has a doctorate in Business Administration and is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.