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US Military Facilities: Germany

From 1945 to 1950, the primary mission of the United States military units stationed in the American zone of Germany was occupational. By 1950, however, that concept changed to emphasize the defense of Western Europe. Unlike US Army Military Communities, US Air Bases tend to be more rural and centralized.

Germany is the best overseas assignment possible. The United States Army, Europe (USAREUR) provides a wide support base, and Germany's modern infrastructure, quality housing, highways, and friendly people all contribute to a great tour. The travel opportunities are endless: Germany's central location in Europe puts all of Europe within easy reach.

Germany is a land of fascinating contrasts. There are villages that retain their medieval character complete with peaked roofs, picturesque windows with featherbeds airing over windowsills, church steeples piercing the sky, and massive walls and towers of bygone castles looming in the distance. These villages are often only a few kilometers from large cities. The countryside is quite intriguing. Forests, mostly evergreens, cover more than one fourth of the country. Strips of cultivated land give the countryside a patchwork appearance. There are usually no solitary farmhouses; instead farmers live in small villages and go out to work in the surrounding fields. Central and Southern Germany is mountainous with the Alps rising to 8,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level. The eight principal river systems and their thousands of tributaries and lakes add to the beauty of the country. However, early winter ice can be a problem. Rainfall measures approximately 25.5 inches a year.

US military vehicles that require host nation approval to operate on public roads must submit movement requests through the area Highway Movement Control Team (HMCT). HMCTs are subordinate elements of the Transportation Battalion (MC) Highway Traffic Division and are responsible for coordinating with the appropriate host nation authorities to process movement bids and pass march credits back to the requesting units. The HMCTs in Germany work directly with, and are normally colocated with the Wehrbereichskommando (WBK). The WBK is the military district command that controls movement by all military forces throughout it's area of responsibility. An approved march credit grants the requesting unit permission to move over a specified route at a fixed time as provided in the movement instructions issued with the march credit. March credits and routings are binding and are an order of the Commander in Chief, USAREUR. USAREUR units should understand that the final approval or disapproval for movements requiring a march credit rests with the host nation movement control authorities (WBK). Units cannot begin movement until the march credit is granted.

The Department of Defense announced on September 12, 2002 plans for the transfer of four US Army Europe facilities located in Germany back to the German government. The facilities affected are the Oberdachstetten family housing area in Ansbach, the Regensburg housing area in Regensburg, the Rheinau Coal Point D1 in Mannheim, the Johnson Barracks in Nuernberg and a portion of the Garmisch Shopping Center. These transfers continue the process of returning facilities to Germany. The last such transfer occurred in January 2001 when the Rheingrafenstein Training and Storage Area in the city of Bad Kreuznach and the Quirnheim Missile Station near Mannheim were returned to the German government.

The Department of Defense and the US Army continually review force structure and facilities around the world to identify the most efficient means of operation. The process for reviewing and adjusting the stationing of forces has always involved close cooperation with appropriate U.S. and host nation officials. The number of US Army soldiers in in Germany has fallen from 208,000 to 48,000 by the end of 2006, while the total number of service members dropped from 248,000 to 64,000 by the end of 2006.

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