7th ARMY TRAINING COMMAND
‘An Open Letter to Bavaria’
Bavaria – thank you for the privilege of serving and living here, it has been one of the highlights of my life, and I’m deeply grateful to you all for your friendship and leadership during these difficult times.
I am very proud to have humbly served in Bavaria on this very difficult journey over the last two years. When I assumed Command of the 7th Army Training Command, I believed that our path ahead was very straightforward: train, further build readiness across Europe, and strengthen relationships with friends and partners.
While the path through my time in Command certainly included those quite existential and fully consuming tasks, it also included things we could not have imagined. My personal journey, which I had hoped might include social connections and the discovery of new things, was largely filled with sleepless nights spent hoping for the safety of our Soldiers, Families and communities throughout Bavaria, and the difficulties of continuing to choose from a menu of all bad options in the midst of a pandemic. In this, my experience has been the same as so many - our journeys together have been difficult, strewn with obstacles and hardships, and I leave deeply grateful to have had the privilege of crossing paths with you all here in Bavaria, and the honor of serving in this very special place.
Our number one priority at the 7th Army Training Command is readiness, and while I’m proud of our units and Soldiers for their commitment to the mission and their hard-earned military prowess, I am equally proud of our communities’ commitment to the same principle of protecting each other in tough times. We worked hard to hold up our end of being a good neighbor, doing our best to limit the spread of the virus.
If how we treat each other in difficult times most reveals who we are as people, then Bavaria is the greatest team in the world.
Together, we have selflessly served to ensure the safety of everyone, while working together to further build readiness to deter aggression, in a very uncertain world. We can all be very proud of how we have treated each other – I would not trade this experience for anything, because Bavaria has revealed the very best in our human spirit, the quality of our character, and a determination that will sustain us all for a very long time. We got to experience what truly makes this place special: friendship, and seeing the heart and spirit of the Bavarian people. For generations, American soldiers, civilians, and families have worked, lived, and celebrated side-by-side with the Bavarian people.
Through the pandemic we shared loss, challenge, and now relief as we continue to work together to keep each other safe.
As Soldiers, we like to think of ourselves as the protectors from external threats, and that’s the foundation of our presence here in Bavaria as part of the NATO Alliance. In the case of COVID-19, it was truly Bavaria that protected our American military community. From the policy-makers in Munich that consistently make tough decisions, to first responders and essential workers that keep us safe and with services running throughout, to everyday people doing their duty to follow the restrictions and share in the struggle. You’ve truly treated our community as one of your own, and you have our eternal thanks. I will forever be so grateful.
The friendships we’ve created here, born out of both tragedy and triumph, will continue. Our Soldiers and Families look forward to returning to experience more of the rich cultural traditions of this amazing area. Personally, the entire Norrie family leaves Bavaria will a full appreciation and understanding of what makes the Bavarian people so special, and with deep admiration and thanks for the depths of the bond of our friendship.
Thank you again for welcoming my family, and the hundreds of thousands of American Soldiers and families like ours over the past seven decades.
Habe die Ehre und auf Wiedersehen. (It’s been my honor and see you again)
Note: Brigadier General Norrie leaves as commander of the 7th Army Training Command on June 2 at a ceremony in Grafenwoehr. After two years as the senior Army commander for the approximately 50,000 U.S. Army Soldiers, Civilian employees and Families in Bavaria, he departs for a follow-on assignment in Washington, D.C.