Garmisch, or offically known as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, is a beautiful resort town nestled in the Bavarian Alps on the German/Austrian border. Garmisch is the headquarters for the Area Support Team (AST) that provides community support to the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies, the Armed Forces Recreation Center, AFRC, and the NATO School in nearby Oberammergau. The Garmisch AST falls under the umbrella of the 6th Area Support Group (ASG) located in Stuttgart approx. 3 hours NW.
The Garmisch community is quite small compared to most military communities in USAREUR. The permanent military population, including family members, is approx. 400. The civilian population, to include AFRC employees, and their family members is roughly twice that. The education, training, and conference programs available, result in a much higher cumulative population annually. Approx. 10,500 for Fiscal Year 1999 (many of those being foreign participants/students). This does not include the American tourist population enjoying the AFRC facilities and programs.
The AST Headquarters is located on Artillery Kaserne on the west side of Garmisch. Here is where you will find most of the community support services. The George C. Marshall Center is located on Sheridan Kaserne, across the river and the street from Artillery Kaserne. The Breitenau housing area is adjacent to the Kaserne. The school, Child Development Center, and the Youth Services sit at the entrance to the housing area. The Shopping Center Complex is 3-4 miles in town near the train station. The Abrams Complex, which houses AFRC Headquarters, their conference center and employee housing is on the north side of town about 3-4 miles from Artillery Kaserne. The NATO School (SHAPE) is located in Oberammergau, approx. 30 min NW.
Garmisch is considered an AST, therefore we do not enjoy a full range of services 100% of the time. Although tremendous Command efforts have resulted in improved and expanded services and facilities, many services are present only a couple times per week, per month, or quarter. Despite that, the overall quality of life in the Garmisch community leaves little to be desired.
The Armed Forces Recreation Center, AFRC has run a vacation and recreational program to support the US military in Germany for over 50 years. The facilities include hotels in Garmisch and Chiemsee, with accommodations for over 500 hotel guests per night. In addition, there are year round travel camps in both areas. Activities include summer and winter sports programs, restaurants featuring American, regional and international cuisine, conference facilities, and sight seeing tours.
United States forces moved into the valley in April 1945 and immediately established a military post and, later that year, a recreation center. In 1991, Garmisch was scheduled to close as part of the drawdown. However, with the decision of the secretary of defense to establish the Marshall Center, plans were changed. Since then, Garmisch has become a mecca for peacemakers throughout Europe.