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If Gen. B.B. Bell’s vision of transformation is enacted, the Army will withdraw its presence from Mannheim, Germany — home to a military population of roughly 15,000.

The U.S. Army Europe commander’s transformation plan also includes eliminating the USAREUR Confinement Facility on Coleman Barracks in Mannheim.

Bell talked about his vision for transformation earlier this month during an appearance at the German-American Friendship Club in downtown Heidelberg, Germany. Bell’s comments came while responding to a question following his speech to a crowd of more than 150 people.

Bell’s vision has USAREUR reducing its current force of 62,000 soldiers — spread over 13 main operating locations across Europe — to approximately 24,000 soldiers concentrated among four joint main operating locations.

The four joint main operating bases have been identified as the areas of Vicenza, Italy; Wiesbaden, Germany; Grafenwöhr, Germany; and Kaiserslautern, Germany.

“Mannheim is not on the list of one of the enduring facilities,” said Bob Purtiman, a USAREUR spokesman.

“Everything [in Mannheim] would be consolidated to Kaiserslautern,” Purtiman said later. “Anything not on that list is not included in Gen. Bell’s vision for transformation.”

However, Purtiman said that no final decisions have been made and that Bell’s comments were based on the general’s vision of transformation. The U.S. and German governments have yet to approve Bell’s transformation plan, Purtiman said.

Under Bell’s vision, the number of USAREUR’s individual installations would decrease from 236 to 88. As one of the four enduring facilities, the Kaiserslautern area would serve as USAREUR’s major service and sustainment hub for theater logistics and medical support. Kaiserslautern is about 40 miles west of Mannheim.

Purtiman noted that a timeline for the moves has not been established yet.

With a population of roughly 15,000, the Mannheim military community includes Coleman Barracks, Funari Barracks, Spinelli Barracks, Sullivan Barracks, Taylor Barracks and Turley Barracks. The main housing area, with some 2,200 family housing units, is Benjamin Franklin Village.

The community has an estimated annual economic impact of $380 million to its local economy, according to figures from the 293rd Base Support Battalion in Mannheim.

The Army units in Mannheim are mainly signal, transportation and military police support. Mannheim also provides the military with an airfield and access to the Rhine River.

Additionally, the U.S. military confinement facility for Europe is located on Coleman Barracks.

Under Bell’s vision of transformation, a confinement facility would not be located in Europe, but rather that function would be handled in the States, Purtiman said.

“Gen. Bell said when transformation is completed he didn’t believe there would be enough population to support it [the military confinement facility in Mannheim],” Purtiman said.

The fate of Mannheim is not a cause of panic for Spc. David Kuzminski, with the 76th Army Band, which is stationed at Mannheim’s Coleman Barracks.

“If it happens, it happens,” he said. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Either way, the job’s going to get done.”

Mannheim statistics

Mannheim military community population breakdown:

Army active duty: 4,000

Air Force active duty: 200

Army family members: 6,484

Air Force family members: 197

Civilian employees and family members: 3,266

U.S. military retirees: 727

Source: Morale, Welfare and Recreation


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