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November 09, 2006

USAREUR Becomes well, a *lot* smaller...

Cold Warriors! Brats! Take a look here, as some Cold War Military Archaeology...

Oh, for normals: USAREUR - United States ARmy, EURope.

USAREUR Transformation

Take a look at those numbers...

Cold War - 858 installations in 38 communities and almost a half-million people (including families). I lived there for over 13 years all told (including when we still had troops in France).

Current: 234 installations (which can mean a radio tower on a hill, too) in 14 communities with around 125k people.

Future (2010 or so): 88 installations in 5 communities, and around 70K people.

Every place I was stationed, or lived, in fact, where I was born, have been or will be, returned to the Germans. The high school my sister graduated from no longer exists.

Easier to read version? Click here.

No OPSEC was harmed in the posting of this message.

Comments on USAREUR Becomes well, a *lot* smaller...
Jack briefed on November 9, 2006 07:33 AM

Interesting, but it seems to make sense to me. No more Red Army to fend off, so redeploying makes sense. I can see how those who grew up in the Cold War era with a parent or parents stationed on those bases would be a bit wistful about the closing of all the facilities from their childhood, though.

Montieth (LJ) briefed on November 9, 2006 07:35 AM

What's Joint Taskforce East in Bulgaria and Romania?

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 9, 2006 07:57 AM

For the record... I wasn't complaining, mostly just bemused.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 9, 2006 07:59 AM

JTF East is where we're going to send deployed brigades on rotation, staying in large training areas those countries have left over from their days as Russian sattellites.

Like Brigade 76 for those who remember that kind of stuff.

When the war winds down, it will give us a ready-made way to have access to large training areas and to practice (and keep the skillz) of deploying brigades, just as REFORGER used to do.

Cricket briefed on November 9, 2006 08:04 AM

Its all good, although I hafta chuckle about the novel "The Third World War" which put the Workhorse and the Blackhorse in the way.

The Engineer were there and it did not happen on August 25, 1985.


OneOtherThing: Now Germany is responsible for their own security. It is about freakin' time.
As much as I enjoyed being over there, and being in Europe generally (hey, we got paid to live there), it isn't our country and it isn't the US, no offense to the Germans. It's good to be back home.

MajMike briefed on November 9, 2006 08:16 AM

John Hackett certainly had an interesting take on the whole matter...

wistful and bemused, me too!

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 9, 2006 08:34 AM

I met General Hackett when I was a Lieutenant. Got him to autograph a copy of his book, too.

Drew briefed on November 9, 2006 09:31 AM

The closing of European bases is very depressing. I spent four years in Germany with my parents and now that I'm in college, was hoping for them to go back so I could spend Christmas in Europe on Uncle Sam's dollar. Not so anymore. The most likely place for them (and thus, my holiday break) is either Korea or Japan.

fdcol63 briefed on November 9, 2006 11:39 AM

The closing of US bases in Germany and the redeployment of those forces is a good thing. It means we've achieved our goal and can come home.

However, the downside was the creation of a culture that, while protected by the US military umbrella and the American economy, could afford to create its own economy with unsustainable, generous social welfare and labor/pension programs, as well as a naive reliance on such institutions as the UN to resolve conflict. As Mark Steyn has written, although Germany is older than the US, it (and much of Western Europe) behaves in an almost adolescent manner.

The real tragedy is that German and European culture is dying along with their low birthrates, while unassimilating Muslims are ascendent.

Within 2 generations, at this rate, Germany will not be German, and Europe will be largely Muslim.

If the Iranians and Islamists were really patient, they'd just wait until the people they've been exporting to France gain a majority and become a nuclear power by democratically becoming France's government, controlling its nuclear arsenal.

cw4(ret)billt briefed on November 9, 2006 11:49 AM

One who was a Young Lootenant back in '85 saw me reading "The Third World War" during a no-fly weekend and asked to borrow it when I had read it.

Dunno if it was the book or my telling him the North German Plain was the likeliest route for an armored strike, but that September, YL enrolled in the Princeton Theological Seminary and we never saw him (or my book) again.

Ralph Peters' "Red Army" was a better book, IMHO...

OD briefed on November 9, 2006 01:16 PM

I met Hackett too, at Sandhurst as a teenager. I remember he told me, my boy, I am the last person you will ever meet to have used a sword in combat on horseback.

Cricket briefed on November 9, 2006 02:37 PM

And that is sad too...the passing of the Old Guard. Something about a 'real cav' is almost like being a knight.

seawitch briefed on November 9, 2006 03:44 PM

Before my Dad transferred to Navy, he was in the Army. Thanks to your map, I finally know the correct spelling of the town we called home from 1964-1966: Schwabisch.

cw4(ret)billt briefed on November 9, 2006 03:51 PM

Cricket - Grampa T took part in the cross-border excursion that attempted to nab Pancho Villa "back when." He decided that commanding a battery of French 75s was more conducive to military longevity in WWI than riding a horse through barbed wire into interlocking fields of Maxim fire -- and took a nasty dose of chlorine gas after about three months in-country.

He used to plink squirrels with his M1911 and, when I was old enough to stand unassisted, he insisted I be taught the knack of feeding carrots to a horse without losing my fingers. I guess he *was* kind of a knight, because he once jousted a G5 4-6-0 in his trusty Model T Ford.

The locomotive won. Dented the daylights outta the Model T's left front fender, I'm told...

Cricket briefed on November 9, 2006 06:05 PM

I have relatives in Colonia Juarez who have been there oh since 1850. The stories they have told about PV were pretty scary. I wish your grandpa were around for me to thank him...but tell him thanks.

He sounds like a real neat guy. Sorta like a Sugarbuttons in his own right.

SangerM briefed on November 9, 2006 06:55 PM

This tickles me no end, for a variety of reasons...

I was back there last Dec; I took a week and a great little VW diesel minivan thing and drove from Stuttgart to Ansbach, Erlangen, and then the old tri-zone area, down into the Czech republic to a few places I used to look at from the other side of the fence, and thence down the border to Bayreuth, Graf, and back to Stuttgart. It was bittersweet. I literally lived longer in that corner of the world than anywhere else I've lived since I was 6 years old. It was home, but not home, since everything I knew was gone or had been converted. The kassern I lived on in Erlangen had reverted to the University, my room barracks old was now an office; the rest of the kassern had been demolished. The 1st AD (Old Ironsides!!) Headquarters at Hindenburg Kassern in Ansbach is now a mall. The town felt kind of empty, to be honest, even for all the people and even with the small Christmas markt.

I was astonished at how few Americans there were. Astonished and a bit thrilled! One of my greatest Army-era fantasies was that one day we would pack our crap and go home and leave the Germans standing there to defend themselves. I had it pretty good in Germany, but I was still treated like crap because I was an America Soldier. I never hated the Germans, even though I'm a Jew, but I had no great love for them either. Germans or Russians. It wouldn't have mattered to me a bit.

And to be honest, the anti-Americanism has just gotten worse--LOTs worse; and NOT just because of Bush, though people try to play it that way. No? See the write up at this link:

BTW, that is a _great_ post-election analysis too, VERY worth reading. David and Ray are great!

But anyway, while I was there last year, I had several VERY satisfactory conversations with Germans, who for the most part expressed regret that "you Americans are all gone from here; we wish you come back, we miss you..." Yeah, right. I am sure a few of the old timers did (folks my age and older), but I expect what many of them miss most is 1) our money, and 2) having Americans to blame for everything. I am endlessly glad that the U.S. is decreasing its presence in Germany, and except for the fact I like visiting on orders, it wouldn't bother me to have all U.S. forces out of there.

As for Romania, the U.S. signed a forces stationing agreement with Romania last year (when Rice was there). They are a member of NATO, they are trying to build up their military, and they send a lot of people here for training. Just like Poland (which is now flying F16s).

And finally re: Sir John Hackett. I read his book shortly after it was published, and it was just about 4 weeks ago that I was telling some classmates Hackett may have been wrong about the war, but he was not wrong about the preparations the U.S. was making. I wrote this:

"By the late '70s, neither the Fulda gap nor the Cheb gap (east of Nuremburg) were the primary points of concern in re: a Soviet invasion. General Sir John Hackett wrote a book in 1978 called "The Third World War: August 1985," which was not only technically very accurate, but also taken to heart by many people in the U.S. In fact, the question I've often asked is whether he wrote the book based on what he knew of U.S. thinking or if the U.S. was acting in response to the same things he saw...

The specifics are many, but consider this: The north German plains had been the responsibility of the U.K, while southern Germany was where two-plus US corps were set astride the main lines of advance (coming from the two gaps). In reserve to those, stationed near France (Stuttgart), was a brigade of the 1st Inf Div out of Ft. Riley. In 1978, however, the U.S. completed the first ever kassern of its own in Bremen, and stationed a brigade of the 2nd Armor Div there.

About the same time, or shortly thereafter, the mission area of the 3rd U.S. Corps (1st Cav, 2nd AD, 5th ID, 1st ID, and 3rd ACR) was changed from the reserve area behind the 5th and 7th Corps in Germany to the North German plains. Three Corps was also expanded to include several large independent brigades, including a full MI bde and the 6th Air Combat Cavalry Bde (Apaches).

By the time I returned to Ft. Hood in '85, the changes were implemented. My specific language skills were no longer needed in any of the Divisions, so I was assigned to a Corps level unit.

The problem with the North German plains was that the attack had to come in late fall or winter so the Soviet armor could travel over the fields without sinking. From 1979 on, all of the large scale war games I participated in took place in late Fall or winter, and in the early 80s we went north a couple times to participate in exercises in places we'd never been, and which were not in our long-term war plans..."

I would have loved to meet General Hackett to ask him about that stuff...


Cricket briefed on November 9, 2006 07:13 PM

Aw...I will hafta go read that book again.

As to the 1850 date, sorry. I was thinking about another place and got confoozled. It was 1887 they moved there.

I didn't mind being in Germany, as at that time the older Germans were glad we were there and the younger ones, never having had to face the loss of their lives or liberty took it all for granted.

As a presence we stood for something they have lost and take for granted, and which we now have
to stand for no matter what. Kinda makes me appreciate what Israel has had to put up with all these years.

So it comes full circle, as it should. Not only will the Germans have to make some hard decisions, they will have to face scorn and derision for so doing. It is about time they grew up and we let go.

Welcome back home SangerM.

Rich Walden briefed on November 9, 2006 09:22 PM

I spent 9 years total deployed in Germany from 1960 to 1974. I was stationed at Augsburg, Hanau, Goepping, Ludwigsburg and Karlruhe. One tour was with 24th ID and another with the 1st ID. I recently checked out Flak Kaserne in Augsburg on Google Earth. The old division hq building, the MP barracks and the 24th Sig Bn mess hall and EM club were still there but all the rest had been turned into some sort of small houses. I know that the world changes and leaves the old behind, but I can't but feel sad that the places of so many good times and good friends is no more.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 9, 2006 09:31 PM

Rich - when were you in Augsburg? We were there when the 24th reflagged to the 1st ID. Dad was commanding the artillery battalion at Sheridan Kaserne.

OD briefed on November 9, 2006 10:20 PM

All this talk of the Fulda Gap reminds me of a Cold War weapon, a weapon so bizarre that even John may not know of it: a nuclear landmine warmed by chickens.

Justthisguy briefed on November 10, 2006 01:15 AM

Aww, Sanger, I have that book, *somewhere*. The Hackett book I really want to own is "I Was a Stranger", his description of his part in that horrible cockup, the Arnhem thing. I mind his description of being apologetic about pulling rank over his gutshottedness, and having an SS surgeon working on him, and all...

There's much more, and it's a great book.

cw4(ret)billt briefed on November 10, 2006 01:17 AM

Owen - Hi! The nukalar minefields at the Fulda Gap and the Hof Corridor were a very un-secret secret. In 1995, I gave a hangar tour to a mixed bag of former Warsaw Pact field-grade ground-pounders (Poles, Hungarians and a couple of Lithuanians), some Czech armor officers and two Russian Mi-8 pilots.

After the obligatory canine-and-quadruped soiree, I brought them into the mess hall, distributed ballpoint pens, notepads and the li'l green memo pads everybody in the Army has fifty of and steered them to the coffeepot.

Dunno if they all cooked up the story beforehand, but most of them mentioned that their intel types during the Cold Years had briefed them that "the atomic demolition munitions along the inter-German border" were scheduled to be removed "in 1985." But none of them were told exactly where they were ("Ha! Funny! It is *atomic* -- why do you need *exact* location?") and none of them received a follow-up confirming their removal.

A truly *secret* nuclear minefield is useless as a deterrent...

Justthisguy briefed on November 10, 2006 01:42 AM

Mebbe so, Chief, but think about having some really rabid guys like my Dad's old boss, General LeMay, or, even more scary, General Power, in charge of the nukes. I think those guys actually wanted to do it.

McCain briefed on November 10, 2006 02:57 AM

Hey guys,
For the brave men and women of our military, and for lesser mortals everywhere, RightLinx will host our 3rd weekly USO dance party Friday night. This is a John Kerry-free zone where conservatives know how to party.
RightLinx USO Show

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 10, 2006 08:58 AM

Owen, ya got me. I was unaware of the chicken mine.

SangerM briefed on November 10, 2006 09:04 AM

Just some mental meanderings on Vets day.

In the late 70s, my best friend was the E-7 NCOIC of our unit's AVLB (armor-vehicle launched bridge) platoon. He was a combat engineer by MOS, and had at sometime prior to being sent to tank bn purgatory been in the tac nuke section of one of the engineer units in Nurnberg (I forget the unit/kassern). One time when we were tooling around near the border, he pointed out a lot of engineer things that I had never noticed before when I was running GSR (ground surveillance radar) teams all over that part of the country. Things like rows of 5-15 manholes on the middle of mountainside roads, locked bunker-type doors in the sides of hills or beneath autobahns at bottleneck points, big removable grates in the middle of major roads, or bridges, etc. He told me these were all pre-planned demolition points, some of which were designed for nukes. He did however tell me that none of them were ever left in place. It had been his job before to transport and emplace a number of nukes should the need arise. I'd say that if we had a chance to get ready, the Sovs would have a rough time making use of the Cheb Gap road system (I assume the Fulda Gap was wired just the same). BTW, my friend was the person who taught me how to use the engineer handbook, which for a scout/radar guy was like having the secrets of the universe at hand!

On another note, regarding Poncho Villa (and the small world of the Army). I spent years in Cav units or on old cav posts, many of them at Ft Huachuca, where the Post Commander's home is named Pershing House and where the 10th Cav worked (Buffalo Soldiers--there are a lot of old 10th cav gravestones in the Huachuca post cemetery, very interesting). I used to frequent a restaurant in Benson, AZ that had an old picture of Villa on the wall from when Villa had come to Benson. In Hawaii I was with the 35th Infantry, which was started in Arizona and worked the border until it was moved to Hawaii. I was also in the First Cav for a while, first in the 1/13th Cav, then in the 1/7th. The 13th chased Poncho Villa and ultimately made five trips into Mexico, parts of the 7th also chased Villa, as did Lt. George Patton. The 13th Cav Bn HQ had a small 1-room museum with captured war stuff and pictures and old flags, etc. from Mexico to North Africa and Italy in WWII. That all went to Illisheim in '74 when they converted us to the 1/7th. The 13th later ended up in Bosnia paired with 1/41 infantry, which was our friendly-rival infantry unit on my kassern in Erlangen. A very small world indeed.


OD briefed on November 10, 2006 10:52 AM

Hey, Bill, must have been great fun, giving the old enemy a guided tour.

Rich Walden briefed on November 10, 2006 08:18 PM

John: I was in Augsburg from Jul 60 thru Mar 63. That was before your time there. My unforgettable experiences were things of history. During the Berlin blockade, I help set up and run a radio base station for the 24th's battle group (a term out of the past). We put up a humongous yagi cut for about 25 megahertz and talked to a AN/GRC 46 traveling down the Berlin access autobahn. I also had some delightful experiences talking to some hard case plaincloths types during the MG Walker situation due to working in the Sig-Ops office. Not to mention spending from Oct 61 to Mar 62 doing field exercises with one break for Christmas of about ten days. Better things were Koenigs Platz, Hausenbrau, curry wurst and 20 marks for five dollars.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 10, 2006 08:26 PM

Better things were Koenigs Platz, Hausenbrau, curry wurst and 20 marks for five dollars.

Now *that* I remember.

And ah, the Pentomic Division and it's battle groups.

Of course, now, we just call them Brigade Combat Teams...