Baumholder is home to the largest concentration of US combat soldiers outside the United States. It consists of Smith Barracks (the main post) and the base operations area support teams of Strassburg in Idar-Oberstein and Neubrucke, near Birkenfeld. Baumholder is a VERY HIGH deployment post.
1-94th FA is located on the Strassburg Kaserne above the sister cities of Idar-Oberstein, Germany and is an extension of the Baumholder Military Community. The Kaserne is located within walking distance of the Edelsteinmein Mines and their surrounding nature preserves. The mines are actually the reason for Idar-Oberstein's existence. The city's economy has revolved around the gemstone trade for centuries and several museums in the area are dedicated to the subject. The surrounding nature preserve also provides miles of hiking, running and biking trails immediately available to the community.
Idar-Oberstein is also well known for things other than gems. Among the other attractions are the Church of the Rock, a small chapel built into the side of a mountain in the middle of Oberstein. You may also visit the New and Old Castles located directly above the church as well as Frauenburg Castle just down the road. Additionally, while you are in I-O, make sure you try the local specialty, Spiesbraten. Raw meat, usually pork neck, pork loin or roast beef, is marinated in a mixture of onions, salt and pepper for several hours. The meat is then roasted over an open beech log fire and served with potatoes and shredded radishes or seasoned cabbage.
Idar-Oberstein is well situated for the intrepid traveler. There is a local train station with direct links to Frankfurt and Saarbruken. From either location, you can catch connections to virtually anywhere in Europe. I-O is also about an hour's driving distance from Luxemburg, and an hour and a half from both Belgium and France.
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