Goodbye, Ledward and Conn Barracks in Schweinfurt

Col. Michael Runey: The last commander of the US Army in Lower Franconia is leaving

It took the US Army barely an hour to say its goodbyes in a special ceremony on 22 May 2013. Because of yesterday’s rain, the ceremony for Col. Michael D. Runey was held at the gym of the Finney Sports Center on Conn Baracks. The ceremony was short, entertaining, humorous, and with a sentimental touch. Col. Runey is returning to Fort Knox, KY in the U.S. after two years in Schweinfurt, Germany.

He is the last military commander of the Armed Forces in Schweinfurt, and Lower Franconia. As a symbol, he turned the garrison’s flag over to Col Kelly J. Lawler, who will be the next commander for the garrisons Schweinfurt, Bamberg, and Ansbach.

Col. Lawler, the first of the two speaker, credited Col Runey for his outstanding performance, which is not easy when there are eight brigades to govern. Col. Runey shared his appreciation for the Team Schweinfurt and also mentioned the challenges and highlights of his time in Schweinfurt.

Before thanking his wife, Christy, and his four children for their support, he also praised the German hospitality, which ranged from attending the famous Honky Tonk Festival to Schlachtschüssel (roast pig feast).

To read the complete Mainpost article in German, visit Thank you, team Schweinfurt

Here are some random photos from my last visit to Schweinfurt.

Ledward Barracks

Ledward Barracks



SKF building

SKF building

Area Mud

Area Mud

Luke & Duke, the Nukes Grafenrheinfeld

Luke & Duke, the Nukes

American Military leaving Schweinfurt and Bamberg

We knew it would happen sooner or later. The decision to close the military posts in Schweinfurt and Bamberg was made this very afternoon. You can learn more from the Mainpost article Army verlässt Schweinfurt.

It will take another two to three years before the last U.S. soldier is sent back, but both towns have to prepare for the coming changes, especially in the local economy.

As much as opponents have decried the U.S. presence, there are many others who are very likely to suffer from the G.I.s’ absence.

Ledward Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany

Well, it is time to move on. The U.S. has spent taxpayers’ money for an extra 20 years of military presence, beyond the end of the Cold War. It is time to reinvest.

Bye bye Schweinfurt, a rap song by the group Royal Riches from Schweinfurt.

Church Bells in Germany

If you have ever lived in rural Germany, then you are familiar with the sound of church bells ringing.

While growing up in a farm house on main street in rural Franconia (Northern Bavaria), I became so accustomed to hearing the bells at all times of the day that the bells’ sound went without perception.

Not until I left home and came back for occasional visits did I learn to appreciate their beautiful sound. Nowadays, when we stay for an overnight at my Elternhaus (parents’ home), I love to wake up to the sound of the nearby church bells.

The village main street on most any morning is filled with various sounds: farmers yelling directions to get the wagon into the barn, women gossiping in front of the house, along with the church bells ringing.

So I was delighted when I discovered Alexander von Halem‘s blog post about various church bells in Bavaria. Alexander has begun collecting the sound of church bells with an iPhone application called

Listen to the sound of various church bells on Zeilitzheim Castle in Bavaria, Germany.

Enjoy it.

Bamberg Beer War

In 1907, there was a war over beer in Bamberg, a lovely city in Upper Franconia.

Bamberg, home to 70.000 residents, can also boast of eight breweries. In a way, this is not too surprising as I once read that Upper Franconia alone has 300 of the nationwide 1300 breweries.

Another noteworthy superlative – Franconia has the highest density of breweries worldwide.

Back to the Bamberger Bierkrieg – one day in 1907, the local breweries decided to raise the price for 0.5 L (1/2 quart) by 1 Pfennig (from 10 to 11 Pfennig)

Karl Panzer, a local book-keeper,  inspired the two inn-keepers, Georg Weierich and Anton Mohr, to go on strike. Instead of selling the more expensive local beer, these two offered the lower-priced one, available from another town called Forchheim.

This beer sold really well and after one week only, the Bamberg breweries had to give in and retract their price hike. The beer went back to 10 Pfennig for 1/2 L again.

Franconian Beer

If there is more you want to know about German beer in general, see Beer Guide Germany.

Beer Guide Germany

Somehow a copy of this book found its way into our German living room.

This completely independent guide features 1250 breweries and 7500 beers from all four corners of Germany.

My favorite location would be Bamberg with its Dunkelbier and Rauchbier, served in its quaint Altstadt.

Good Beer Guide Germany from

Good Beer Guide Germany from

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