John Vandiver

Fort Hood cavalry unit deploying to Europe for Defender drills

A Texas-based unit will deploy on short notice for drills in Germany and Poland, marking the final phase of the Army’s Defender-Europe 20 exercises, the service said Friday.

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US arrivals bump coronavirus cases at some Europe bases higher

Summer is peak travel time for the military as troops and DOD civilians move to new assignments, and arrivals from the U.S. have accounted for some coronavirus cases on overseas bases.

Air Force wants to turn Soviet-era base in Romania into NATO Black Sea hub

The defense spending bill for 2021 includes $130.5 million to renovate Campia Turzii Air Base in what would be the biggest overseas military construction project under the Pentagon’s European Deterrence Initiative.

Bad Wildbad has more to offer than public nude bathing

The Black Forest town of Bad Wildbad is well known as a wellness getaway, and it’s where I experienced firsthand the German tradition of getting naked with strangers.

Army to pay $1.6 million to quiet noise complaints at Stuttgart area range

The U.S. Army says it will pick up most of the tab for a noise reduction project in the Stuttgart area aimed at quelling local anger over gunfire at ranges used by special operations units.

Lithuania to buy US helicopters to bolster NATO capabilities in Baltics

A $380 million deal would include six Black Hawks and related gear and weaponry, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

Troops, long-term residents exempt from EU coronavirus travel ban on Americans

Status of Forces and bilateral agreements with countries mean “we don’t anticipate any direct impacts on U.S. personnel,” U.S. European Command said.


Combat? Logistics? No easy answers on what troops to cut in Germany

Reducing the number of troops in Germany will likely bring added security risks and costs for U.S. taxpayers, former military officials and security analysts say.

Senators move to block Trump’s proposal to pull thousands of troops out of Germany

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced an amendment to next year’s national defense bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from withdrawing large numbers of troops from Germany.

Allied subs, warships launch large underwater warfare drills off Iceland

Six allied states are testing underwater warfare skills and the ability of crews to evade detection in NATO’s Dynamic Mongoose exercise, the alliance said.

Russia turning eastern Mediterranean into a militarized hot spot, Navy’s Foggo says

The U.S. Navy’s top admiral in Europe warns that Moscow could cement its dominance in the region if it’s allowed to gain a foothold in Libya.

Trump says some US troops in Germany could move to Poland

President Donald Trump intends to cut 9,500 troops from Germany, which would reduce the number of service members in the country by nearly one-third.

Army housing in Germany and Italy gets failing marks in latest quality survey

Housing at two Army posts in Germany and Italy is “very poor” and in need of significant improvements, the results of a survey of Army families in the U.S. and overseas show.

Democrats move to block Trump’s troop cut plan in Germany

Proposed legislation would deny funding for U.S. force level reductions in Europe unless the cuts were requested by a host nation government.

Russian planes now flying for Libyan warlord, AFRICOM says

Russian warplanes delivered to support a rebel warlord in Libya and flown by mercenary pilots are now operational, U.S. military officials said Thursday.

Esper, allies meet for talks amid questions about US troop cuts in Germany

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who has not spoken publicly about the troop cut issue, was expected to face tough questions from allies during the virtual meeting.

No firm plans for US troop pullout from Germany, NATO chief says

U.S. plans to cut force levels in Germany haven’t been finalized, NATO’s top official said Tuesday ahead of high-level talks that will likely center on President Donald Trump’s push for a large troop pullout.

US Air Force deploys Reaper drones to Estonia for first time on short-term mission

U.S. unmanned aircraft are operating for the first time out of Estonia, where they will be temporarily based in support of allied intelligence gathering missions, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said Monday.

Announcement expected on troop increase in Poland, US official says

An agreement on a U.S. troop increase in Poland will be announced shortly and could be larger than originally planned, the top U.S. diplomat in the country said.

22 House Republicans speak out against pulling US troops from Germany

A group of Republican lawmakers on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to reject a plan that calls for pulling nearly 10,000 troops from Germany, saying the move would weaken the NATO alliance and encourage Russian aggression.

The Navy’s big Baltic exercise is underway, but COVID-19 means no Marines storming the beach

“We are taking precautions to ensure our crews and partners stay healthy and operational,” said the U.S. 6th Fleet’s Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti of the Baltic Operations exercise.


How the Pentagon could cut forces in Germany, and which bases might be affected

The last major cutback in Europe in 2012 eliminated two Army brigades, support units and moved about 10,000 troops, following planning that began nearly 10 years earlier.

Trump directs Pentagon to pull 9,500 troops from Germany, report says

President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to pull nearly 10,000 troops out of Germany by September, which would mark a sharp drawdown in a country that is home to the largest number of forces in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

EUCOM boss urges frank dialogue about racism, but reminds troops protests are off-limits

U.S. troops in Europe are prohibited from joining anti-racism protests taking place around the Continent, but military officials are looking for ways to allow on-base gatherings that enable members to “come together and heal,” the top commander in Europe said.

Army in Stuttgart to reopen gyms, day care as coronavirus threat level eases

Many Stuttgart garrison services, such as Child Development Centers and gyms, will soon return.

Army general in Germany suspended pending investigation

The one-star general who commands the Army’s reserve headquarters in Europe was suspended this week, pending the outcome of an internal probe, U.S. Army Europe said.

No hype, just good food at OhJulia in Stuttgart

OhJulia, you aren’t a hyped burger joint, and that’s just perfect right now.

DOD wants plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to help develop treatment

The Pentagon has launched a drive to collect plasma from military members and others who have recovered from COVID-19.

Poland hit by wave of fake news before start of major military exercise with US

Poland was hit with a barrage of fake news stories this week, including a phony interview with a U.S. commander ridiculing allied militaries, days before a major NATO exercise kicks off in the country, Polish officials said.

Air Force fails to deal with racial disparities in military justice, report says

In the Air Force, black airmen on average were 71% more likely to face court-martial or nonjudicial punishment than their white counterparts, according to an investigation.

Moscow sends fighter planes to Libya to back warlord, AFRICOM says

Russia has flown warplanes to Libya in a move aimed at propping up a warlord and possibly gaining a permanent foothold in the war-torn country, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

NATO needs to focus more on the Black Sea to defend against Russia, report says

The Black Sea "is now the centerpiece of Moscow’s power projection into the Mediterranean," wrote retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges in a report released Tuesday.

Army in Stuttgart, once a coronavirus hot spot, reports no new infections over three weeks

The lack of new cases is a sharp turnaround for a military community that in early April accounted for more coronavirus cases than any other overseas base.

DOD civilians offered emergency leave if they or family members are sick from coronavirus

Defense Department civilians can take up to two weeks of paid emergency leave if they or a family member are affected by the coronavirus, the Army said.

Army reactivates V Corps for Europe mission

The U.S. Army has reactivated V Corps, a unit of 635 soldiers that will bring more command and control support to missions in Europe, the service announced Tuesday.

Destroyer USS Roosevelt brings upgraded missile defense to Rota

Not to be mistaken for the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam for weeks after a coronavirus outbreak, the destroyer is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.