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John Vandiver

europe quick trips

Hoehenfreibad in Stuttgart is a relaxing, refreshing spot to spend a hot day

When the dog days of summer hit hard in Germany, Hoehenfreibad helps you escape the heat with a swim and some shade.

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Damaged data lines cause billing confusion at Patch commissary

Damaged data lines at the Patch Barracks commissary meant thousands of debit and credit card transactions had to be manually processed last month, resulting in late bank postings and billing confusion for some customers.


Report: General wants to pull hundreds of US troops out of Africa

U.S. Africa Command wants to pull hundreds of troops from Africa and downsize special operations missions there in a move that coincides with the Pentagon’s shift to threats posed by Russia and China.


Lawmakers move to limit US military use of Russian gas in Germany

The Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would force the Pentagon to look for alternatives to Russian energy supplies in Germany, partly out of concern over a power source for a new U.S. military hospital that will receive aeromedical evacuees from combat zones.


US military watching closely as Iranian ships gather at key oil shipping route

The Iranian navy is increasing its presence at the Strait of Hormuz, sparking concerns that Tehran is showcasing its ability to block international access to the world’s most important oil transit point.


Heatwave causing power blips at US bases in Stuttgart

Sporadic city power outages connected to a heatwave in southern Germany have affected some operations at U.S. military installations in the Stuttgart area.


Oversight of Army’s 3 Europe-based brigades shifts to a one-star general

The change takes effect Wednesday when all three brigades begin reporting to Brig. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, whose Grafenwoehr headquarters is taking on higher-level responsibilities.


Army says workers in Germany exposed to toxic cadmium last year

Cadmium, which is used in batteries, can be dangerous when not handled properly. It is a cancer-causing agent and can cause damage to kidneys and lungs depending on dosage and frequency of contact.


Senators seek to prohibit Trump from quitting NATO

A group of U.S. senators worried about President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit a U.S. president from pulling out of the alliance.


NATO battles fake news, one video game at a time

At the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Latvia, a hub focused on countering misinformation campaigns, an online game has been launched to help citizens learn to identify fake news.


US drone, surveillance plane supporting fire response effort in Greece

U.S. military aircraft continue to search for hot spots in Greece, where wildfires tore through a coastal village earlier this week outside of Athens, U.S. European Command said Thursday.


Burger-focused Bellevue Bar & Grill adds food truck-like option in Stuttgart

The food truck trend hasn’t taken root in any meaningful way in Stuttgart, Germany, but a new burger-focused venture is giving it a go on the city’s north side. Bellevue Bar & Grill, near Killesberg Park, has a lot going for it. There’s seating with a view, a range of drink options and plenty of foot traffic.


USAFE chief: Military doing '360-degree' review of basing in Europe

Since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, the military has expanded missions in Eastern Europe, where U.S. troops rotations have steadily increased. USAFE has a year-round mission in Poland manned by a rotating group of troops.


DODEA must do more to protect students from sexual assaults, lawmakers say

U.S. lawmakers are demanding that Defense Department schools do a better job of protecting students from sexual harassment and assault, calling for a centralized database to track cases that critics say are frequently ignored.


Lawmakers prod Pentagon to consider more Europe-based troops

A House and Senate panel agreed on Monday to a reconciled version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could come up for a vote in the House as early as this week. For Europe, the NDAA spells out steps to counter and “if necessary, defeat Russian aggression.”


Armed US drones up and running in Niger

Earlier this year, U.S. Africa Command quietly began armed unmanned surveillance flights in Niger, adding more firepower in the country where the Oct. 4 attack on a team of Green Berets raised questions about whether troops were carrying out dangerous missions without sufficient backup.


Trump: Supporting tiny NATO ally Montenegro could start WWIII

Last week, President Donald Trump gave his backing to NATO after a contentious meeting of heads of state in Brussels, where Trump reportedly threatened to go it alone if members didn’t spend 2 percent of their respective gross domestic products on defense.


Trump doesn’t rule out ending military exercises in the Baltics

President Donald Trump on Thursday did not rule out curtailing military exercises in the Baltics should the issue arise during his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


After two days of criticism, Trump says NATO now in better shape

President Donald Trump declared Thursday that NATO was “much stronger” than when the two-day summit of world leaders began, citing progress toward increased defense spending.


Poll: 42% of Germans want US troops out of country

Many Germans want U.S. troops to withdraw from their country, where nearly 35,000 American servicemembers are stationed, according to a new poll.


Trump labels ally Germany ‘captive of Russia’ as NATO summit opens

President Donald Trump, flanked by a stone-faced Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also criticized a multibillion dollar energy deal between Moscow and Berlin that he says NATO “needs to look at.”


Trump on NATO burden sharing: ‘We are the schmucks’

President Donald Trump said Thursday that the coming NATO summit will be a venue for confrontation with member states, just hours after his top representative at the alliance played down tensions by saying the goal of the summit was to showcase unity.


Analysis

Ex-NATO commander: Trump's disdain for US-led alliance leads to ‘new and dangerous’ situation

Growing doubt about President Donald Trump’s commitment to the U.S.-led NATO alliance and concerns that a looming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin could weaken the security pact cloud an upcoming summit of world leaders in Brussels next week, former U.S. military commanders in Europe said.


Former Army Europe boss: Pulling US troops from Germany would be a big win for Russia

A large military drawdown in Germany would be a “colossal mistake,” says the former top Army commander in Europe about a possible scaling back of the U.S. presence on the Continent, at a time when Russia has become more assertive.


Cyberwarfare and future megacities threaten air dominance, NATO report says

Advances in air defense and electronic warfare systems by adversaries will threaten allied dominance in the years ahead, according to a new NATO air power strategy billed as the first of its kind since the U.S.-led alliance was founded in 1949.


WWII bomb discovered at US Army post in Stuttgart

A 4-pound, World War II-era, British incendiary bomb was removed from the U.S. Army’s Robinson Barracks on Tuesday after being discovered at a construction site on post.


Soldiers to shoot more, stay longer in infantry school

The Army will add two more months to infantry school, marking the biggest change to the institution in nearly a half-century in a move designed to develop a more lethal force, the service said.


Army medical command sends out overdue-bill notices, asks patients to call insurance companies to find out what they owe

The Army’s Regional Health Command Europe is sending out incomplete delinquency notices and asking patients to contact their insurance companies to find out how much they really owe, due to a billing backlog the command attributes to staffing shortages.


After Trump’s tough talk on Germany, Mattis offers praise

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lauded German efforts to boost military spending and the country’s contributions to global security, offering support for a longtime U.S. ally that has come under withering attack from President Donald Trump in recent weeks.


europe quick trips

Museum fuer Stuttgart tells city’s stories in building that was once a palace, Nazi headquarters

The building of the new city museum that aims to tell the story of Stuttgart, Germany, encapsulates itself a big part of that history.


US European Command moves forward with plan to bring more war games to southern Europe

U.S. commanders are reorganizing major exercises in Europe in a move expected to bring more large drills into the southern part of the Continent, where U.S. European Command is expanding resources even as the military has curtailed war games in South Korea.


Russian bunkers near Poland could be storing nuclear weapons, report says

A series of satellite images analyzed by the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists show one of three underground bunkers in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad being excavated, renovated and then covered.


Merkel, at odds with Trump, confirms Germany will miss NATO target on spending

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that her country will fail to meet a key NATO defense spending deadline, putting Berlin again at odds with Washington one month ahead of a major alliance summit where NATO’s unity could be challenged.


US, Turkey discuss dispute over Syrian town where US forces operate

U.S. and Turkish military officials worked on a deal to resolve a dispute over the contested Syrian town of Manbij. U.S. forces have been operating there, working alongside Kurdish partners who have been key to the campaign against the Islamic State group in the region. The partnership has infuriated Turkey, which regards the U.S.-aligned Kurdish People’s Protection Units as terrorists.


Special Forces, SEAL units to join mix of elite troops at rural Baumholder

Green Berets and SEALs operating out of a congested Stuttgart Army post are slated to move to a new home in Baumholder, Germany, a small garrison town now poised to become the main hub for some of the military’s most elite troops.


Special operations troops in Europe get a new boss

Maj. Gen. Kirk W. Smith took command Tuesday of special operations troops in Europe, where he will lead a team of Green Berets and SEALs working to bolster allied militaries along NATO’s eastern flank.