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SCHWEINFURT, Germany — The Army will transfer control of its airfield in Bamberg to German officials in September, two years ahead of the original plan, according to a city spokeswoman.

Bamberg officials learned of the decision earlier this week, when garrison commanders from Bamberg and Ansbach visited Mayor Andreas Starke, according to city spokeswoman Ulrike Siebenhaar. She said the commanders brought a letter from U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling disclosing the decision.

The airfield has long been used for private and commercial flights while remaining under Army control, Siebenhaar said. U.S. Army Europe told city officials in February it would turn the airport over on Sept. 30, 2014, when the command intends to close the full garrison, Siebenhaar said.

The new date came as a pleasant surprise, she said.

“It’s for us a more comfortable situation, and we can do more things with the airport than before,” Siebenhaar said.

The property will be transferred to the German federal government, after which Bamberg officials will be allowed to purchase it, Siebenhaar said.

A spokesman for U.S. Army Europe said the new plans reflect the Army’s limited use of the airfield in recent years. He didn’t provide a date for the turnover, but said it will be “as soon as possible” and before other parts of the installation are returned to the city.

Current plans call for U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg to close by October 2014 as part of a larger consolidation of Army bases in Europe.

beardsleys@estripes.osd.mil

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