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KITZINGEN, Germany — The commander of the 417th Base Support Battalion reassured more than two dozen local German political leaders last week that local jobs would not be lost while 1st Infantry Division soldiers deploy to Iraq in the coming year.

Most soldiers from the Kitzingen-based 417th BSB, which also includes bases in Giebelstadt and Würzburg, will leave in the next two months for one-year tours in Iraq. But Lt. Col. Thomas Fass assured the mayors that most American families probably would remain in Germany, and no German jobs would be lost.

The meeting Dec. 17 in Kitzingen included the district’s lord mayor and district commissioner, as well as 20 mayors from nearby cities and villages. The media was not allowed to attend at the request of the political leaders, but the 417th BSB later issued a press release summarizing the meeting.

The U.S. Army population in the 417th BSB, including soldiers and families, numbers more than 17,000. Americans contribute heavily to the local economy, and hundreds of German nationals work at the bases.

Local Germans and Americans widely believe the 1st ID bases have been targeted for closure as part of the Department of Defense’s sweeping transformation of its force structure, and the German mayors have opposed any cuts in U.S. forces.

President Bush last month announced “consultations” with foreign governments that might be affected by base openings or closings, but DOD officials have said no decisions about base closures have been made.

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