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Army tanks, personnel set for move to northwestern Germany

U.S. Army armored vehicles sit at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. In October, USAREUR will move into Tower Barracks, a former British facility in the northwestern German town of Duelmen, to store tanks and other combat equipment flowing into Europe as part of a Pentagon plan to position more firepower on the Continent.

JOHN VANDIVER/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 15, 2016

STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. Army Europe will occupy a base in northwestern Germany to store tanks and other combat-ready equipment, which is flowing into Europe as part of a Pentagon plan to position more firepower on the continent.

In October, USAREUR will move into the Tower Barracks facility in Duelmen, where for years a small British unit was stationed. With the United Kingdom’s plan to vacate the post this year, USAREUR requested access to the facility from the German government, which obliged.

“The site at Duelmen is well suited to meet our immediate equipment storage needs, with large warehouses, a fully functioning railhead and well maintained equipment maintenance shops,” said Don Wrenn, a USAREUR spokesman.

Since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, U.S. European Command has sought ways to enhance its presence around Europe, launching more large-scale training exercises and positioning rotational forces along NATO’s eastern flank. Now, EUCOM is moving toward a posture more oriented toward deterrence, and USAREUR’s plans for a brigade’s worth of combat ready gear is a linchpin to that push.

USAREUR is still working out the details on the source for the tanks and other equipment, which could be brought into Europe from the U.S. or could be drawn from stocks already in Germany. The plan is for USAREUR to have one brigade’s worth of heavy gear available for training and an additional set of tanks and heavy gear maintained at a high level for rapid deployment in a crisis.

USARUER plans to use former equipment storage depots in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium to store the influx of combat gear. Duelmen is about 40 miles north of the German industrial city of Dortmund and hundreds of miles from other U.S. military posts in Germany, which are concentrated in the country’s southern sections.

The moves are part of the military’s $3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative, which also will fund the rotation of a heavy Army brigade to Europe on a “heel-to-toe” year round basis.

The full-time presence of a heavy brigade, set to start in 2017, means USAREUR will have three brigades on the continent at all times. The 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy, and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, are the only remaining brigades permanently stationed in Europe.

The headquarters for the rotational brigade will be based out of Poland, with its battalions likely to be spread out in different parts of Europe.

As USAREUR prepares for more tanks and artillery, staffing will likely be needed to ensure the equipment is ready for use, but workforce numbers haven’t been finalized.

“At this time it is too early to speculate what workforce will be needed at the facility,” Wrenn said.

vandiver.john@stripes.com

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