GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — This base will become a hub for engineers and military police under a plan to move 3,500 soldiers and their families here over the next few years, according to U.S. Army Europe.

An engineer brigade headquarters, engineer battalions, signal battalions, a military police brigade headquarters and subordinate MP units as well as associated logistics support units will relocate to Grafenwöhr over the next few years, said USAREUR spokeswoman Lt. Col. Elizabeth Hibner.

Grafenwöhr is one of USAREUR’s key main operating bases and will be the centerpiece of the transformed USAREUR, Hibner said Friday.

“Our plan is to move at least 3,500 additional troops into the area over the next four to five years. We anticipate these moves to be spread out with around 800 to 1,000 soldiers moving each summer as facilities are completed,” she said.

USAREUR will follow established host-nation notification procedures and plans to move soldiers and their families to Grafenwöhr as facilities are completed, she said. Unit stationing decisions may be adjusted based on global war on terrorism requirements, construction timelines and other initiatives, she added.

“Until host-nation notifications are complete, precise details on timing and unit moves cannot be provided. However, our goal remains to announce specific unit moves at least one year out,” she said.

Construction at Grafenwöhr has been conspicuous this month, with the official opening of the new build-to-lease U.S. housing area at Netzaberg and diversions along on-post roads to allow construction of a large traffic circle leading to a new shopping complex.

U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr commander Col. Brian T. Boyle said in a Bavarian News editorial last month that over the next few years Grafenwöhr will experience the same growth seen at Vilseck recently, which will have 8,000 people living in and around it by fall.

“Recently we have been asked to explore housing even more units in our area. In short, Graf-Vilseck is becoming the eastern hub of USAREUR and just about everyone wants to move here,” he said.

Hibner said most of the new units will be located in the newly constructed company compounds at Grafenwöhr. Families will be housed at Netzaberg or in leased homes in the surrounding communities.

“There is an ongoing effort to acquire additional build-to-lease housing in the area, too. USAG Grafenwöhr does not see this as a major issue – just steady work as they identify a need, advertise the need and allow the German housing market to respond,” she said.

Facilities will accommodate the new soldiers and family members, Hibner said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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