Deploying troops leave nearly 500 cars behind
April 1, 2008
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The first group of soldiers took their shiny German sports cars, motorcycles and beat down jalopies for a final spin over the weekend before parking them one last time.
Nearly 500 cars belonging to 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division soldiers will be squeezed into a vacated motor pool lot, where they will sit for the next 15 months or so. The brigade is headed to Iraq in the coming weeks.
Jeff Morrison, a deployment specialist supervising the Baumholder storage effort, said there are a couple of simple steps that soldiers should take to better ensure their cars survive the long hibernation.
“We tell them to leave their hand brake down and disconnect their batteries,” he said, explaining that an activated hand brake will cause the brakes to rust over time; a disconnected battery will better retain power.
All week, soldiers will be driving through the inspection line, where workers do a quick once-over of the car’s condition for insurance purposes.
Sgt. Jose Languren, who was among the first to park his car over the weekend, said parting with his Nissan Xterra was a little harder than he thought.
“I just wish I could keep driving it. I don’t want to leave it,” said Languren, with the 47th Forward Support Battalion.
Typically, about one-half of the vehicles probably will need the help of a jump-start after 15 months in the elements. Otherwise, the cars generally pull through without any major problem. Usually it is just a few that need to be towed after a deployment, Morrison said.
While the soldiers are gone, routine inspections of the location will be conducted. If a car with flat tires is spotted, the tires will be filled with air as a courtesy. If the problem persists, the car goes on blocks.
“Three strikes and you’re going up in the air,” Morrison said.
Following the deployment, soldiers shouldn’t expect to just show up and drive off into the sunset. Proof of insurance and a visit to the vehicle registration office are required, Morrison said.