Military


Coleman Barracks
Mannheim-Sandhofen, Germany
4933'N 0827'E

The Coleman Barracks Army Airfield is situated about one mile due north of Mannheim. The German Motorway 6 (E50) is running right along the base (due south). Driving on the 6 (E50) you must take junction Mannheim-Sandhofen and head north to Lampertheim on road 44. After several hundred meters you must make a right turn into the town of Scharfhof. Turn left when you are in Scharfhof and make a right turn soon after that. You will end up near the perimiter fence. The road leads all the way around the base. Sometimes you will need to climb up the hill (towards the fence) for a good view over the field.

AMCOM Project OLR, Europe is a government managed, contractor operated team of industry specialists dedicated to providing system maintenance, modification, and damage recovery within Europe and the Mid-East. It is a division of the U.S. Army Material Command (AMC) and the Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM) with over 20,000 sq. ft. of maintenance and 98,000 sq. ft. of storage facilities at Coleman Barracks. Endorsed by the U.S. Joint Logistics Chiefs (JLC) as the primary contractual vehicle for securing depot-level maintenance and modification within the DOD, the operating contractor is DynCorp, based in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 293d Base Support Battalion maintains command, control, and coordination (C3) of the railhead located at Coleman Barracks and Spinelli Barracks, Mannheim. These facilities are dedicated to support contingency operations and are currently configured to support deployment/redeployment of forces. Dedeploying/ Redeploying units will not be provided "pusher" unit support and must rely strictly upon organic assets to load/unload equipment. Units are required to coordinate equipment pick-up with the 293d Base Support Battalion S-2/3, NLT 7 days prior to the train arrival/departure.

May 29, 2001 marked the deactivation of the 414th (US) Signal Company in Mannheim, Coleman Barracks, Germany. The company was originally under operational control of the LANDCENT Signal Group (LSG) until LSG was disbanded in 1999. The group was then place under operational control of the Central Regional Signal Group, now Northern Regional Signal Group. The unit was the only deployable, mobile CIS unit available to RHQ AFNORTH.

The Headquarters of the American Forces Network is tentatively scheduled to relocate from Frankfurt to Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany perhaps sometime in the 2002-2003 timeframe. This move should be invisible to the audience and should have no impact on AFN-Europe radio or television programming.

The Army Oil Analysis Program (AOAP), administered by the Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is part of a Department of Defense-wide effort to detect imminent component failures and determine the condition of used oils by periodically collecting and evaluating samples. The Coleman Barracks lab is near Mannheim, Germany, and primarily supports the 1st Armored Division there, the Southern European Task Force in Italy, and Task Force Able Sentry in Macedonia. The Coleman Barracks lab also provides support to Belgium, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Sinai, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

In August of 1965, under the costar concept, the 51ST ordnance group was redesignated as the 51st maintenance battalion (direct support) and relocated to Coleman barracks and in July 1989, the battalion was realigned as a subordinate command of the 29th Area Support Group. Recently, in June 1995, the 51st Maintenance Battalion moved to its current home at Spinelli barracks, Mannheim.

In April 1997 soldiers and civilians from Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) and 293rd Base Support Battalion moved UH-60 Blackhawks to Coleman Barracks. Encased in protective white plastic, Fourteen UH-60 Blackhawks from Ft. Bragg, NC were towed off a barge they rode from Rotterdamm, Netherlands to Coleman Barracks. They were prepared for its mission in Bosnia by the 2/502d Aviation Company, Mannheim.

The Army plans to expand a military runway at Mannheim's Coleman Barracks airfield and to relocate an aviation battalion there. Army officials want to bring the small airfield up to current safety standards by widening and lengthening the existing runway by about one-third. The proposed $13 million improvements would provide enough taxiway for pilots to bring aircraft to a stop during aborted takeoffs and bring the airfield into compliance with new international safety standards.

The upgrades coincide with plans to relocate the 214th Aviation Battalion - and its 17 aircraft - from the Army airfield in Heidelberg. The battalion provides transportation for the Army's top commands in the region, including U.S. Army Europe and V Corps. It consists of eight Black Hawks, five turboprop Beachcraft airplanes and four Cessna Citation executive jets. On average in Heidelberg, German officials count about 2,160 annual "aircraft movements" - takeoff, landing or circling - made by the battalion. That would add to the 3,800 flybys Mannheim residents have to listen to as aircraft train in the area and come in for repairs at the aviation maintenance facility based there. The battalion is moving to Coleman with or without the airfield upgrades

Local politicians have blocked the upgrades, asking the German Defense Ministry for formal hearings that could tie up construction for months. German Defense officials say they are waiting on a noise pollution study, commissioned by the city, to be completed before they issue a ruling on the need for hearings.

Citing an increase in noise pollution, about 1,000 Mannheim residents signed a petition last week protesting the battalion's move and proposed airfield upgrades. "The people are OK with the Americans coming here, but they don't want more noise," said Josef Krah, a city administrator in Mannheim. Krah was among more than a dozen top Mannheim officials invited to Coleman Barracks this week for briefings on the Army's plans and a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter ride around Mannheim.

Some Mannheim residents also are concerned that the runway improvements are really preparations to move Rhein-Main Air Base's heavy flow of operations to Coleman's airfield when Rhein-Main closes in 2005. But the move has nothing to do with Rhein-Main's closure; Germany's Ramstein air base will assume nearly all of Rhein-Main's responsibilities.

U.S. Army Confinement Facility-Europe

At the far end of Coleman Barracks stands an 8-foot-high chain-link fence topped with concertina wire. The only way through it is a double-locked gate, where a sign details visitors' dos and don'ts. To enter, visitors must surrender their ID cards at a guard shack located behind yet another locked gate. Inside, one senses the looming authority imposed by the 9th Military Police Detachment. As the visitor passes from one block of cells to the next, the unnerving clang of a steel door slamming shut echoes down the shiny hall. The distinct smell of disinfectant stings the nose, and eyes adjust to the striped sunshine that filters through barred windows. There's no mistaking this place for There's no mistaking this place for Club Med -.

The 21st Theater Support Command's Mannheim Confinement Facility in Germany insists on rigid security. Officially known as the U.S. Army Confinement Facility-Europe, MCF was built in 1963 to house 236 inmates. By 2000 about 50 inmates or detainees called one of the cells "home." Comparable to a county jail, the facility can house inmates of all ranks serving sentences of less than one year or detainees awaiting trial.

The MCF is the only U.S. military confinement facility in Europe, including the Balkans, except for a small Air Force facility in England. As a result, the facility is used for holding members of the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, as well as foreign prisoners of war. To tend to the mixed clientele, MCF has a cadre of Air Force and Navy correctional specialists assigned to its personnel roster.

During inprocessing, new prisoners and detainees are placed in a barren, 6-by-8-foot cell in "D Block" for at least the first 72 hours. They remain there 23 and a half hours a day with a camera watching them, and they are visited daily by a doctor, chaplain and social worker. Books and magazines are not allowed. The "D Block" cells contain only a bed, sink and toilet. Prisoners who want to run water or flush must call the guard on duty, who controls these functions from behind the cells. When it's time for a shower, the guard unlocks the cell, chains the prisoners' ankles and wrists, and walks them to the shower stall at the end of the hall. The cadre controls even the length and temperature of showers.

If prisoners have completed inprocessing and show no reason for concern, they are assigned to another block with larger cells that can accommodate up to 13 prisoners. By the third day of confinement, prisoners are allowed to phone home at their own expense. Free calls to a prisoner's lawyer, commander or unit are allowed at any time.



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