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Friedberg-Giessen, Germany

Friedberg is located approximately 20 miles north of Frankfurt Germany and is a city rich in history. It also has the distinct honor of being the city where the "King of Rock-n-Roll"; Elvis Presley; was stationed during his Army enlistment. The citizens of Friedberg have honored this American soldier by erecting a statue of him in the center of the city. Also on Ray Barracks is the "Elvis A. Presley Dining Facility" operated by 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment.

Soldiers assigned to First Brigade can be assigned to Ray Barracks in Friedberg, or Giessen Depot. The 284th Base Support Battalion is composed of two major sites, the Giessen US Army Depot and Ray Barracks in Friedberg. In addition seven other facilities are also part of the 284th BSB. They are: Dulles and Marshall Housing areas and Pendleton Barracks in Giessen. Housing areas in the Friedberg area are Alvin York and McArthur. The vast majority of families in the 284th BSB live in Roman Way and Schloss Housing in Butzbach, a small community between Giessen and Friedberg.

The 284th BSB went through many changes over the last few years. The most recent one was preparing Ayers Kaserne in Kirch-Göns for return to the federal German government. Despite moving into better facilities in Friedberg and Giessen, it was not easy for some of the soldiers to say good-bye to Ayers Kaserne. Built by the US forces in 1952-1953 it was an integral part of US military history in Germany.

The independent Giessen military community was reflagged during the drawdown and became the 234th BSB, part of the 104th Area Support Group. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and consequent further realignment in USAREUR, additional drawdown measures were executed. The US military in the greater Giessen area became a part of the 414th BSB with headquarters in Hanau.

During the course of most recent realignments, higher headquarters announced the re-establishment of a BSB in Upper Hesse, thus the 284th BSB came into existence. Most support agencies have already set up shop and offer services in both major locations. The commander and his staff continuously strive to excel and to offer the best service possible to the soldiers, family members and civilians in the 284th BSB footprint.Surrounding German communities are very supportive of the US military forces in this area. Several groups have entertained relationships with the military for years. C.A.R.E. (Civilian Association of Retired Employees) is made up of former employees of the US military forces who want to preserve the history of the US military in this area. They established the C.A.R.E. Museum at the Giessen depot main entrance, open Thursdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The German-American Club supported the US forces during Operation Joint Endeavor by donating a rental car to the Family Assistance at Ayers Kaserne. Die Brücke (the Bridge) is the oldest German-American Friendship Club and meets regularly.Many notable people have passed through what is now the 284th BSB. Elvis Presley was stationed at Ray Barracks in Friedberg from 1958-1960. President Theodore Roosevelt spent time during his childhood in Bad Nauheim, a health resort north of Friedberg, where he attended a German school. Some others who have visited are President Gerald Ford, Senator Ted Kennedy and Secretaries of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Dick Cheney.

German history in the 284th BSB footprint is rich. For example, 6,400 year-old evidence of a settlement in the area of the city of Butzbach has been found. It is also well known that some of the "Hessians" who fought for the British during the American Revolution were trained at a castle called Schloss Kaserne near Butzbach. The city of Giessen was first mentioned in 1197 and received township privileges and rights in 1248. Because Giessen was situated on the two main trading routes which led from Italy to the North Sea and from Eastern Europe to France, it soon became an important trading center. In 1607 Giessen established a university that still exists and attracts students from all over the world. The city of Friedberg dates back to 1170. Despite two fires in 1383 and 1447 it was able to rebuild and has preserved its medieval character.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:48:27 ZULU