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President Bush will meet with soldiers of the 1st Armored Division in Wiesbaden on Wednesday.

Bush, who will be in Europe next week to meet with European officials, will make a stop at Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday afternoon, according to a 1st Armored Division news release.

It will be the second time that Bush has visited 1st AD troops. In 2003, he made a surprise visit to Baghdad to have Thanksgiving dinner with the soldiers.

“We are honored that the president and Mrs. Bush have chosen Wiesbaden to visit soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and family members of the U.S. European Command,” Maj. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, 1st AD commander, stated in a news release.

“I’m sure many Iron soldiers still remember with great pride the visit the commander-in-chief made to Baghdad to spend Thanksgiving with us during our deployment,” Dempsey stated.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bush plans to meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The two leaders will greet American and German soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said Thursday during a press briefing.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., and first lady Laura Bush will accompany Bush on his trip, according to the Rheinland-Palatinate state police.

There will be enough other government officials to fill up a 12-car convoy, the police said.

Details on what the 1st AD is doing to prepare for the president’s visit have not been released.

Many major transportation routes around the Mainz-Wiesbaden area are being closed because of the president’s visit. The closures — finalized and announced during a meeting Thursday — include:

A portion of Autobahn 60 from Anschlussstelle Mainz Süd to Rüsselsheimer Dreieck.A portion of Autobahn 67 from Rüsselsheimer Dreieck to Mönchhofdreieck.A portion of Autobahn A3 from Flughafen Frankfurt to Wiesbadener Kreuz.A portion of Autobahn A66 from Wiesbadener Kreuz to Schiersteiner Kreuz.Parts of A671 will be affected as well, according to officials from the Rheinland-Palatinate state chancellor’s office.

The highways are scheduled to be closed from 7 to 11 a.m., and then again from 3 to 7 p.m. Those hours are subject to change.

The Rhein and Main rivers will be closed off in the area, as well as a 37-mile airspace radius above the communities.

German schools in the Mainz and Wiesbaden areas will be closed for the day, according to a statement issued by the Rheinland-Palatinate state chancellor’s office.

The autobahn closures also will affect many on-base activities, said Donna Dean, spokeswoman for the 221st Base Support Battalion from Wiesbaden.

Lt. Col. Christopher Franks, 221st BSB commander, directed that many other facilities — such as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, the dental facility, the post office, the bank and the commissary — close on Wednesday.

He also has given the OK for all units to work with minimal staffing because many soldiers or workers may not be able to get to work, Dean said.

AAFES operations may or may not be open, depending on how many employees will be able to get to work, Dean said.

On the other hand, college students who attend night courses at the Gen. H.H. Arnold High School or at the airfield will be affected, according to University of Maryland-Europe officials.

The North-Central Office, which covers the Wiesbaden area, has canceled all evening classes on Tuesday and Wednesday for the president’s visit, according to Pete Haugland, the administrative assistant.

Wednesday’s lunchtime classes will be canceled as well.

At least six demonstrations, both anti-U.S. and pro-U.S., are scheduled within Mainz during the president’s visit, even though a large portion of the city will be off limits.

President's itinerary

White House officials on Thursday released the following itinerary for President Bush’s trip to Europe next week:

Sunday evening: President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will arrive in Brussels, Belgium.

Monday morning: Bush will meet with King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium, and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Monday afternoon: Bush will deliver a speech on United States and European cooperation at the Concert Noble in Brussels.

Monday evening: Bush will meet with French President Jacques Chirac.

Tuesday morning: Bush will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Tuesday afternoon: Bush will hold a joint press conference with European leaders including European Council President and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and European Union Security Policy Representative Javier Solana.

Tuesday evening: Bush will participate in a working dinner with the European Union representatives.

Wednesday morning: Bush will travel to Mainz, Germany, to meet with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and American and German soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

Wednesday afternoon: Bush will participate in a roundtable with German citizens and visit the Gutenberg Museum.

Wednesday evening: Bush and the first lady will travel to Wiesbaden, Germany, to meet with members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division, then travel to Bratislava, Slovak Republic.

Thursday morning: Bush will meet with Slovak Republic President Ivan Gasparovic and Prime Minister Mikulás Dzurinda, and deliver a speech to Slovak citizens.

Thursday afternoon: Bush will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thursday evening: Bush and the first lady will depart for Washington, D.C.

—Stars and Stripes


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