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615th Military Police Company executive officer 1st Lt. Mike Cotovsky, 24, of Chicago, stands outside his unit’s new headquarters at Grafenwöhr, Germany.
615th Military Police Company executive officer 1st Lt. Mike Cotovsky, 24, of Chicago, stands outside his unit’s new headquarters at Grafenwöhr, Germany. (Seth Robson / S&S)
615th Military Police Company executive officer 1st Lt. Mike Cotovsky, 24, of Chicago, stands outside his unit’s new headquarters at Grafenwöhr, Germany.
615th Military Police Company executive officer 1st Lt. Mike Cotovsky, 24, of Chicago, stands outside his unit’s new headquarters at Grafenwöhr, Germany. (Seth Robson / S&S)
One of 12 new barracks under construction at Grafenwöhr.
One of 12 new barracks under construction at Grafenwöhr. (Seth Robson / S&S)
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Anderson, 38, of Fargo, N.D., said one of the best features of his unit's new headquarters is a locker room that allows soldiers to stow their combat gear at the office instead of lugging it back to their barracks each night.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Anderson, 38, of Fargo, N.D., said one of the best features of his unit's new headquarters is a locker room that allows soldiers to stow their combat gear at the office instead of lugging it back to their barracks each night. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Soldiers have moved into the first of 24 company headquarters being built here as part of a $700 million construction program.

Some 150 MPs, mechanics, medics and cooks from the 615th Military Police Company started moving into their new headquarters last month, said executive officer 1st Lt. Mike Cotovsky, 24, of Chicago.

Susanne Bartsch, Grafenwöhr’s public affairs expert on the construction program — dubbed Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr — said 12 company headquarters blocks are under construction.

Each block houses two companies and includes office space, workshops and motor pools. The facilities, built on land that used to be occupied by the base golf course, will be located along a ring-road encircling 12 new barracks buildings also under construction at Grafenwöhr, she said.

Building the headquarters close to the barracks will enable soldiers to walk to work and make the base more efficient, she said.

The headquarters facilities cost 6.6 million euros each, including 3.8 million euros for vehicle maintenance buildings and 2.8 million euros for offices, Bartsch said.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Anderson, 38, of Fargo, N.D., said the new 615th MP facility was a lot roomier than the unit’s old headquarters on Grafenwöhr’s Main Post.

One of the best features is a locker room that allows soldiers to stow their combat gear at the office instead of lugging it back to their barracks each night, he added.

The motor pool next door to the headquarters is another nice feature, Anderson said.

“Our old motor pool was at Camp Kasserine — 2 to 3 miles from our headquarters. Now the motor pool is right outside the back door,” he said.

Bartsch said anther building project nearing completion at Grafenwöhr is the first of 12 new barracks, which will be handed over to the Army next month. Each 11 million euro barracks can house 130 to 140 soldiers in apartments built to the Army’s new “one plus one” standard, something the Air Force introduced a decade ago, she said.

The apartments provide soldiers with their own rooms. Two soldiers share a bathroom and a kitchen equipped with a microwave oven and a hotplate. Noncommissioned officers get their own apartments, she said.

Anderson said some soldiers from his unit will move into the first of the new apartments in February. They are looking forward to their new homes, he said.

“Just the fact that it is only two people using a bathroom instead of four is a plus. Right now, none of the soldiers have their own rooms, although they normally get to pick who they room with,” he said.

Some of the MPs might not be in the new barracks for long. The unit is due to deploy to Iraq early in the new year and soldiers who stay behind with the rear detachment will probably move to another of the new barracks buildings, Anderson said.

Bartsch said the barracks and headquarters facilities will be built incrementally so that they are available for units arriving over the next two years at Grafenwöhr. The base will eventually host a brigade-sized collection of units moving from other parts of Germany where bases are scheduled to close, she said.

All of the headquarters facilities and barracks should be occupied by 2008, she said.

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