USAREUR liaison outlines history of U.S. forces in Rheinland-Pfalz
HOPPSTÄDTEN-WEIERSBACH, Germany — The U.S. military has had a presence in Rheinland-Pfalz for 59 of the German state’s 60 years of existence, said a Pentagon official Thursday evening.
Bryan T. van Sweringen, U.S. Army Europe liaison officer at the Pentagon, gave an hourlong speech titled “The development of the stationing of American troops in Rheinland-Pfalz.”
Van Sweringen’s presentation came on the first day of a three-day conference on “Americans in Rheinland-Pfalz” presented by the Atlantic Academy Rheinland-Pfalz. The conference took place at a former U.S. installation that has since been returned to the Germans.
The first U.S. installation in the Rheinland-Pfalz was a depot established in Einsiedlerhof in October 1947, van Sweringen said. Einsiedlerhof is just west of the Air Force’s current Vogelweh installation.
Since U.S. forces began establishing a large presence in west German state in the early 1950s, Rheinland-Pfalz has served as the logistical hub for U.S. Army Europe.
“The area west of the Rhein offered a more secure location for U.S. accommodations while this troop build-up was taking place,” said van Sweringen.
By the end of 1951, European Command had established troop facilities and supply installations at 27 sites west of the Rhein River, he said.
By November 1989, the largest forward deployed U.S. Army logistics organization — the 21st Theater Area Army Command — was headquartered in Kaiserslautern and commanded by a three-star general, van Sweringen said.
Today, the command is known as the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and is commanded by a one-star general.