Transfer of Army special operators to Baumholder on track for 2026
Stars and Stripes February 6, 2024
STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. special operations troops based in Stuttgart are expected to take up residence at a rural base in southwestern Germany in 2026, adding 1,000 people to a garrison once on the Pentagon’s chopping block, Army officials said Tuesday.
About $500 million in construction projects are underway at the Army garrison in Baumholder for relocation of troops assigned to Special Operations Command Europe, Col. Reid Furman, commander of the service’s installations in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, said in a statement.
Once the move is complete, the Baumholder military community will tally around 11,000 people, he said.
The timeline for the relocation is likely to be a welcome development for both the Stuttgart area and Baumholder.
For years, Stuttgart residents have complained about gunfire at the Army’s shooting range in Boeblingen, a suburb where Green Berets and Navy SEALs train.
The situation has been a sore spot in community relations over the years. Meanwhile, the community of Baumholder, which relies heavily on the economic ripple effect of the Army presence there, has long sought more troops.
In the early 2000s, the Army designated Baumholder for closure as part of a post-Cold War drawdown, creating local worry over how the community of 4,500 Germans would adapt to life without the Army.
Over the years, troop numbers steadily declined, with an infantry brigade departing in 2012. But by 2015, the Army was working on plans for revitalizing the base, and money has flowed back into Baumholder.
In late January, Furman escorted Michael Ebling, Rheinland-Pfalz’s interior minister, around the Baumholder garrison to show off the latest upgrades. Furman said that investment in the Baumholder garrison will exceed $1 billion over the next 10 years.
“This substantial funding will cover various initiatives, including the construction of the special operations forces complex, the relocation of additional forces to Baumholder, investments in Army family housing, as well as the creation of a new Army Lodge,” Furman said.
Over the next couple of years, 400 family housing units will be built, he said.
For special operations forces, the shift to Baumholder will offer access to larger ranges for shooting and maneuvers than what is available in the Stuttgart area, a major metropolitan location that hosts U.S. European and Africa Command headquarters.
While the Baumholder move will affect special operators, the two-star-led U.S. Special Operations Command Europe headquarters will stay put in Stuttgart.
In a statement Tuesday, SOCEUR didn’t specify which units under its command will be making the move. The estimated 1,000 people involved are a mix of troops, families and support staff, the command said.