Wiesbaden Army Airfield (WAAF), Germany
During the summer of 2001 the 1st Armored Division headquarters relocated to Wiesbaden Army Airfield [WAAF] and by the end of the year, the 410th Base Support Battalion closed up shop in Bad Kreuznach, returning the American military installations here to German control. The Wiesbaden community grew from about 4,000 to more than 5,500 soldiers and family members, supported by a $50 million-plus construction overhaul.
Roughly $32 million has been budgeted to spruce up Wiesbaden Army Airfield and the housing areas. The $32 million figure doesn't include funds being set aside for future construction work. The projects include: a $6 million child development center in 2003; a $5-6 million expansion and renovation of the community health and dental clinic, also in 2003; and about $7 million for a new indoor sports facility in 2004. Upgrades include barracks enhancements, a new School Age Services building, renovation of the Eagle's Nest, a Wiesbaden community club, to serve as the new 1st AD Headquarters, new temporary Child Development Center buildings, repair of roads, office building fix-ups, installation of fiber optic cable and more.
For most Bad Kreuznach-based single soldiers, the move meant a better quality of life. For WAAF-based soldiers, moving more than 500 new soldiers into the billets meant a cutback in living space, tighter parking and other logistical challenges. Single soldiers' quarters on the airfield maintained about a 55-percent occupancy rate. With the 1st Armored Division's move, the occupancy rate went to about 95 percent or higher.
In Wiesbaden, the 1AD junior enlisted soldiers moved into "two-plus-two rooms," two soldiers to a room with a shared bath between every two rooms. Sergeants moved into "one-plus-one rooms," one soldier to a room with a shared bath between every two rooms. On each floor of the barracks, the soldiers have access to a fully-equipped kitchen, including a dishwasher. In addition, each barracks building is equipped with two laundry rooms, each room furnished with four washers and four dryers.
The soldiers have access to morale facilities within walking distance of their barracks, including the gym, the AAFES Burger Bar, AAFES movie theater, Outdoor Rec., shoppette, military clothing sales store and the Welcome Center. Wiesbaden also hosts a very active BOSS program. In addition, the soldiers are just a short bus ride or drive from the Mainz Kastell shopping area and the Hainenberg Shopping Center. Soldiers who choose not to drive have access to German transit buses that stop right outside the airfield gate and the Army-run shuttle bus.
During 2000 the V Corps Artillery headquarters moved to Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen to better align that unit with its higher headquarters, V Corps, in Heidelberg. The improved proximity and associated command and control has been a USAREUR goal since V Corps Headquarters moved from Frankfurt to Heidelberg in 1994. Only after the 649th Engineer Company inactivated in June 1995 were facilities at Tompkins Barracks available to accommodate this move. Previously stationed in Wiesbaden, the unit has 51 wheeled vehicles, 1 track vehicle - an M-577 command and control vehicle, and 13 trailers and generators. It has 128 military positions and 4 civilian positions.
The Wiesbaden/Mainz Community is located in the German State of Hessen and Rheinland Pfalz, in the central portion of Germany. The region is rich in history and cultural facilities.
Wiesbaden's most famous benefactor was Kaiser Wilhelm II. He used his own money to supplement the operations of the "Royal Opera." Following Kaiser Wilhelm's lead, the European aristocracy began to increase its patronage of Wiesbaden's spas, theater and social activities. Although some hotels and bath houses were bombed during World War II, most buildings in Wiesbaden remained untouched. Because so few buildings were destroyed, the ornate architecture found in Wiesbaden is seldom seen in other German cities, making Wiesbaden one of the most beautiful cities in Germany.
When the Air Force was established as a separate branch of service in 1947, Wiesbaden was selected as the site of the Air Force Headquarters in Europe, serving in that role until 1975. Consequently, Wiesbaden served as the hub for all activities supporting the Berlin Airlift, with around-the-clock flights from Wiesbaden Air Base. An Army Armored Brigade was stationed at Wiesbaden Air Base in the mid 1970s until it was replaced by the 3D Combat Support Command and 12th Aviation Brigade in the mid 1980s. From 1975 through 1993 Wiesbaden was a joint Army/Air Force community with a service-wide reputation for excellence that was enhanced by the strong bonds that developed between these organizations. Today, the Wiesbaden Air Base is offically named the Wiesbaden Army Air Field.
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