A wave of long-planned installation closures will begin this summer in Mannheim and Heidelberg in Germany, but many of the most significant realignments will not happen until 2014 or 2015 — roughly two years later than earlier projections.
In all, 22 U.S. Army Europe installations will be turned over to the German government between 2010 and 2015 as the Army moves forward with efforts to streamline costs and consolidate troops at main operating bases, the Defense Department announced on Wednesday.
USAREUR headquarters at Campbell Barracks will begin its relocation to Wiesbaden in 2012 with completion expected by 2014. Installation Management Command-Europe, meanwhile, will relocate at the same time to either Wiesbaden or possibly Sembach, according to USAREUR.
“If all goes as planned, this is as concrete as it’s going to get,” said Bruce Anderson, a USAREUR spokesman.
In Germany, there will be an overall population reduction of 7,378 people — 1,446 soldiers, 1,505 U.S. government civilians and 4,427 family members — according to USAREUR.
The first installation to shut down at the U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg will be the Schwetzingen Training Area later this summer followed by Hammonds Barracks in December. The major closures will come between 2014 and 2015 when Campbell Barracks, Patton Barracks, Mark Twain Village family housing and the Heidelberg hospital all will be turned over to the host nation.
Meanwhile, by summer’s end, USAREUR anticipates a 50 percent reduction in the number of soldiers in the Mannheim area, which will allow Hammonds and Taylor barracks to shutter. Remaining Mannheim units will consolidate mostly on Coleman and Spinelli barracks, according to USAREUR.
By summer 2012, USAREUR anticipates most of the Mannheim-area soldier population will have departed.
The Army has planned since at least 2004 to move USAREUR headquarters at Heidelberg to Wiesbaden as part of an effort to reduce and consolidate the American military presence in Europe. Last year, USAREUR officials had said that the closures were expected to take place in 2012 or 2013.
Numerous construction projects are under way in Wiesbaden to accommodate the influx of personnel, including a $130 million housing area south of Wiesbaden Army Airfield, with 324 single houses, town houses, and duplexes, sports fields and children’s playgrounds.
A $60 million command-and-control center also is being built.