Units slated for relocation to Grafenwöhr begin moving in
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The first group of almost 1,500 troops and family members due to move here from other parts of Germany this year arrived last month and are ready to in-process others over the summer.
U.S. Army Europe plans call for 588 soldiers and 846 family members to move to Grafenwöhr by the end of the fiscal year, in September.
Grafenwöhr-bound units include the 574th Supply Company from Mannheim, the 1st Inland Cargo Transfer Company and the 5th Maintenance Company (Ordnance) from Kaiserslautern, and Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 709th Military Police Battalion from Hanau.
The 574th commander, Capt. Mark Desander, said his unit is preparing to leave Mannheim’s Spinelli Barracks for Grafenwöhr over summer.
The first detachment of 10 soldiers from the 574th arrived in Grafenwöhr last month. The detachment will in-process soldiers from the unit, helping them find housing, schools and child care, Desander said.
“We are expecting 20 soldiers to arrive (at Grafenwöhr) in March and the entire company (200 soldiers and 80 to 120 family members) to be there by the end of summer,” he said.
The 574th returned from a yearlong mission to Iraq last October. The unit was based at Al Asad Air Base, where it built a 3.6-million-gallon fuel farm and supported 50,000 soldiers and Marines there and at forward operating bases all over Anbar province, he said.
Many 574th veterans are headed back to the U.S. and new soldiers joining the unit will head directly to Grafenwöhr to in-process with the detachment there, Desander said.
The 574th will supply fuel and spare parts to units permanently stationed at Grafenwöhr or temporarily training there. The unit will have a new company headquarters, motor pool and barracks, he said.
It will set up a temporary supply-and-support activity in June or July and eventually establish a warehouse at a location yet to be determined, he said.
Meanwhile, the 5th Maintenance Company is getting ready to leave Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Kaiserslautern for Grafenwöhr.
The 5th’s commander, Capt. Paul Bonano, said 123 soldiers and a similar number of dependents from the support maintenance company will move to Grafenwöhr over summer.
There are some concerns about housing for families moving to Grafenwöhr, Bonano said.
“They have some new government housing that should be ready about the time we come there that is only 15 minutes from post, but we are not sure how much we will get and they can only guarantee we will be within 45 minutes from post and that is a little troubling to some folks,” Bonano said.
Sgt. Timothy Owens, a 5th Maintenance Company soldier, said he expected the move to be difficult but worth it.
The 24-year-old Frankston, Texas, native who has been in Germany four years, said he’d be right at home in the country environment at the training area.
“I’m single, but I’m from the country. I’m not into city life,” said Owens, who hopes to continue to explore Europe from Grafenwöhr.