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Thousands of US troops leaving Bavaria
Photo: DPA

Thousands of US troops leaving Bavaria

Published: 03 Feb 2012 09:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Feb 2012 09:17 GMT+01:00

The American military will close two military bases in the German state of Bavaria by 2015 as part of a planned drawdown of forces stationed in Europe.

The cities affected – Bamberg and Schweinfurt – will lose approximately 7,500 soldiers, according to mayors who met with the leader of the US Army in Europe, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling Wednesday.

Mayor Andreas Starke of Bamberg said there will be a gradual reduction of troop numbers over the next few years before the bases officially shutter.

Starke said although the closures would have “far-reaching consequences,” hurting craftsmen and other businesses who have made millions of euros from the Americans, he said it will also have benefits.

“In a crisis, there’s also a chance,” Starke said, pointing to the city’s long-running need for new student housing to support the University of Bamberg.

Schweinfurt Mayor Sebastian Remelé too tried to take something positive from the announcement, saying new residential housing was needed and that he could also envision new businesses moving onto space left by the decommissioned base. However, he said, 600 local civilian jobs were threatened by the closure.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the federal government would be offering special assistance to the affected cities.

“The federal government will surely help wherever it has leeway,” Friedrich told the Münchner Merkur newspaper.

In January, the US government announced it was pulling between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel out of Europe as part of redeployment to focus on the Middle East and Asia.

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Your comments about this article

15:03 February 3, 2012 by Gretl
And non-Bavarian bases?
18:02 February 3, 2012 by Illogicbuster
Thank God. The only foreign bases we should still have are a few naval bases that are willingly leased. And those for us to maintain freedom of the Seas for our commerce. Let everyone else fend for themselves.
18:24 February 3, 2012 by Gretl
I say we invite everyone over to play in our yard. We have plenty of BRACed bases with communities that would love the replacement income. And think of the multicultural learning opportunities!
18:32 February 3, 2012 by EinWolf
I'd rather pull out of Southwest Asia and deploy to Germany! ... Back in the day, if you stayed in the Army long enough, you'd get a rotation or two to Germany. Nowadays ... It's Afghanistan, Korea, or the States.
18:51 February 3, 2012 by Illogicbuster
No EinWolf, we need to pull out everywhere. No need to spend the $.
19:29 February 3, 2012 by raandy
The strategy is sound, Europe has no real threats out there, and it would seem the major concern would be east and the north pole region as many country's are claiming rights to the undersea oil wealth there.With Global warming it becomes ever more accesible.
20:32 February 3, 2012 by carlm
Germany, Japan and South Korea are more than capable of looking out for themselves. We should've move out of those countries twenty years ago, at the latest.
20:36 February 3, 2012 by socalbremer
As a former GI who was stationed in Bayern for 5 years, and who now lives in Northern Germany as an ex pat with a German wife, I have a dual perspective. On one hand, I believe our once large (and very costly) presence in W. Germany was mainly a token presence against the perceived Soviet threat. The purpose of REFORGER always seemed to be "die as slowly as possible if the Russians come,and hopefully we can get some more troops there in the meantime"... :) . In any case, a seeming waste of who knows how many billions over the years.

On the other hand, I would LOVE a few thousand local GI's with disposable income to be able to come drink .and eat at our establishment :)
21:44 February 3, 2012 by Murkan Mike
What in the world are we (Americans) doing anywhere outside of our country? In my opinion every american military and military contracted person, should go home, we have no business outside of our border. Militarily that is. Hmm, that gets me to thinking..... why do we even have a military, to protect us from who?
21:58 February 3, 2012 by zeddriver
Murkan Mike

Why do we have a military.

Do you put on your seat belt only after having an accident? Or before? Health insurance? Before or after you get sick?
00:10 February 4, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Don't the USA have more urgent matters to tend to?
17:08 February 4, 2012 by X13F
As I write this in Colorado I can turn around in my chair and see the Marne Magic 1982 Schweinfurt Volksfest beer mug on a shelf. While I support the move to return American troops back to the states and not get involved in global policing I am sorry that other Americans won't get the opportunity that I had to see the home of my ancestors. I doubt that I would have been able to travel to Germany much less live there on 2 occasions and get to know so many wonderful people and their culture.

Would I want a foreign military in my country? Hell no! Did I behave inappropriately at times? I'm sure. I must also say that during the 1980's when I was a soldier I was treated better by civilians in Germany than I was in my own country. I have so many great memories of Bavaria (I was in Bad Kissingen my first tour) and enjoyed Franconia so much! Bittersweet to see troops come home from Schweinfurt.

It's great that the buildings could be used for housing or college dormitories but the comment on "diversity" sounds like code for MOSQUE. That, causes concern for me and others who still love Germany and consider it our 2nd home. I would ask, how would a Christian cathedral be accepted in a Muslim country? How welcome would our families and our culture be accepted in Yemen or Saudi Arabia? I think we all know that answer.

Bring our troops home but could I get another Schweinfurt Brauhaus bier while we wait?
01:49 February 5, 2012 by brnskin2010
Deutschland is a beautiful and wonderful country. I lived in Bavaria (on post) in Bamberg. I loved it and hope to return there one day to marry,work and live.
10:51 February 5, 2012 by Yah right
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:38 February 5, 2012 by mos101392
@ Illogicbuster, Gretl, carlm, Murkan Mike,

You are all my Heroes!

Why can't everyone see this too? 15 trillion deficit and as unbelievable as it may seem, there is still that minority that believes America's role is to police the world, regardless what it costs the American taxpayer.

I think the real reason is it is cheaper for the world if America spends it's own money and lives while the rest set back , point their finger and laugh, and say, "look at the stupid Americans going in debt and letting their own die so we can lay back and relax".
22:21 February 5, 2012 by Abbot
@Yah right

First off, it is 'yeah, right', you illiterate. Secondly, with Greece and Italy dragging down the euro, you Germans will need every dollar, pound, yen, etc. coming in to keep your economy afloat. And lastly, who fears your fat-assed, lazy soldiers (comments from your own commander in Afghanistan last year)? Your country is a joke that no one outside of Europe takes seriously anymore, except Turks who want to get in to join their comrades and try to get Turkish instituted as a second offical language.
01:13 February 6, 2012 by boopsie
A first reaction might be that it is way past time that the germans foot the entire bill for their own security. But the world is an increasingly complicated place and american armed forces are an irreplaceably stabilizing and in remote areas of the globe civilizing influence that both the US and the rest of the world dispense with at their great peril.
03:46 February 6, 2012 by _jr
there's only one downside to the US of A closing up shop -- the loss of "600 local civilian jobs". I hope finding new jobs won't be too difficult.
22:58 February 7, 2012 by mos101392
@_jr

Losing 600 jobs is a good thing. That means that there will be 600 "new" jobs for Americans. After all, the Germans that received a monthly wage from the American tax payer since the end of the 2WW, can now get a job from the strongest European economy, thanks to the USA. I only hope this is not the beginning nor the end of ALL American troop withdrawals from Europe or the World! It's about time we take care of our own and let the others take care of their own!
11:01 February 8, 2012 by nolibs
The worst thing about this pullout is that this is probably the only opportunity to see what another culture has to offer. Things such as being able to walk alone at night without being mugged, shot or killed, a recycle bin larger than a rubbish bin at home, a work to live not live to work way of life, way fewer ghettos and no-go zones (if any) around major cities, public transportation that works...and more!
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