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Army's only garrison in Netherlands cases colors

By MATT MILLHAM | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 13, 2012

U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen, the only U.S. Army garrison in the Netherlands, cased its colors Wednesday, marking its end as a military command.

The garrison’s mission will continue under a new name and civilian leadership.

Lt. Col. Chad R. Arcand relinquished the garrison’s reins in a ceremony at Emma Mine Complex, headquarters of the now-defunct USAG Schinnen.

The new organization, USAG Benelux (Schinnen), will answer to USAG Benelux, located in Chièvres, Belgium, and will continue to support U.S. personnel in northern Germany, northern Belgium and the Netherlands, Tom Budzyna, director of public affairs at USAG Benelux (Schinnen), said in an email. A similar transition last month converted USAG Brussels into USAG Benelux (Brussels), also overseen by a civilian.

Schinnen has been the Army’s home in the Netherlands since 1969, when U.S. forces established the garrison to relocate troops after France’s 1966 withdrawal from NATO’s integrated military structure. France announced its return to the NATO military command in 2009.

U.S. troops are likely to remain at the Emma Mine Complex for a few more years, but are slated to relocate to a NATO base in nearby Brunssum by 2016, according to Army officials.

Over the past five years, the garrison’s staff had been cut nearly in half, Budzyna said. Roughly 25 U.S. soldiers, 40 American civilians and 110 Dutch civilians remain.

Support operations, such as Army Community Service, morale activities and in- and out-processing will continue at USAG Benelux (Schinnen), while some administrative and special staff roles have moved to USAG Benelux.

Kathleen Marin, director of Installation Management Command’s Europe Region, said during the ceremony that many personnel “will not notice a significant change in customer support” from the garrison’s redesignation, according to a USAG Benelux (Schinnen) news release announcing the casing.

millhamm@estripes.osd.mil

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