Commander announces Stars and Stripes' move to Kaiserslautern base
GRIESHEIM, Germany — European Stars and Stripes will move its headquarters next year from its longtime home near Darmstadt to Kaiserslautern as part of the latest actions involving the restructuring of military forces overseas.
In a memo to employees, Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen O’Connor, Stars and Stripes’ theater commander, said U.S. Army Europe will inactivate the Darmstadt military community as part of its fiscal 2008 force structure changes. That action will necessitate moving Stripes’ headquarters and the site chosen for Stripes’ new home is Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern.
“Transforming USAREUR is a very challenging process,” O’Connor wrote. “We ask for everyone’s support as we undertake this very important mission, which will result in appropriate forces stationed in the right places to meet the challenges facing our nation.”
The memorandum was disseminated at a staff meeting Wednesday. Similar gatherings were held, also on Wednesday, for servicemembers and civilians in numerous other communities prior to Thursday’s official announcement on base closings, unit moves and other actions.
“As a result of these unit actions,” O’Connor stated, “there will be a reduction of approximately 1,720 soldiers, 3,300 family members, 480 U.S. civilians and 530 local national civilians in Germany. In Italy, the U.S. Army population will decrease by approximately 62 soldiers and 93 family members.”
Stars and Stripes learned of the actions last week, but agreed to withhold the story until Army officials notified German officials and community members, which has occurred over the past two days.
The daily newspaper, an unofficial publication of the Defense Department, has been based at the airfield in Griesheim for nearly 60 years. Over the years, the compound has attracted its share of notables, from Joe DiMaggio and Eddie Fisher to Rick Nelson and Bing Crosby. In exchange for a bottle of gin, jazz singer Sarah Vaughn dropped by in 1958 to perform a two-hour concert for news employees.
Prior to the U.S. military’s arrival, the airfield was used by the German air force and, before that, as a base for zeppelins. Around World War I, Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron, purportedly used the airfield.