The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that four U.S. Army facilities in Babenhausen and Aschaffenburg, Germany, will be returned to the host nation sometime in fiscal 2007.

The facilities are the Aschaffenburg Family Housing Area, Aschaffenburg Training Area, Babenhausen Kaserne and Babenhausen Family Housing Area.

The facilities, part of U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt, were identified as excess, based on the announced inactivation of all units assigned to the area, according to a Pentagon news release.

A statement from U.S. Army Europe said the return of the facilities is in keeping with plans to transfer American forces from Europe to the U.S. and with other plans to rearrange the remaining military assets on the continent.

Nearly 1,000 soldiers were previously stationed at the facilities. There are now some 200 soldiers — all but about 20 of whom are in the process of leaving — plus 44 U.S. civilian and 20 German civilian employees assigned to the installations, according to the U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office. The remaining soldiers should be gone by late October.

Closure of the facilities is expected to save more than $9 million annually, according to the Pentagon.

Until recently, Babenhausen had been home to the 1st Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment; two batteries of the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Battalion; and the 71st Ordnance Battalion, all of which inactivated earlier in the year.

Babenhausen’s last active unit, the 77th Maintenance Company, held an inactivation ceremony Aug. 4, but is not expected to inactivate officially until early fiscal 2007.

With the departure of the 77th, no tactical units will remain.

Reinhard Rupprecht, Babenhausen’s mayor, said he expects the Army will hand the facilities over to the German federal government sometime in 2008. He said his town is not interested in buying any of the facilities.

Even without soldiers, the post will continue to have gate guards for the near future, Rupprecht said.

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