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Stray US Army bullets hit Bavarian buildings

The Local · 12 Jul 2011, 11:01

Published: 12 Jul 2011 11:01 GMT+02:00

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Nobody was injured, but the incident rattled leaders in the town of Grafenwöhr, which has a population of about 6,600.

“I was worried about the city, but fortunately nothing serious happened," deputy Mayor Udo Greim told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper reported that there have been similar incidents three or four times over the past 25 years.

In a statement, the US Army said the bullets came from 12.7-millimetre rounds fired by a machine gun mounted on a Humvee. They hit several buildings, including a vocational school and residential building.

It added that US military and German police were looking into what happened and how such incidents can be prevented.

In the statement, Lt. Col. Scott Moore said the Americans had launched an “intensive review of security procedures and standards.”

“The security of the military site Grafenwöhr and the surrounding cities and towns are the main focus of the US Joint Multinational Training Command,” said Moore.

An army spokesman, Franz Zeilmann, told The Local that officials were very sorry and grateful that no one was hurt.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “We take this very seriously.”

Story continues below…

US military accidents occur periodically, though are rarely pose a danger to civilians. Last year a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near a Mannheim motorway killing three soldiers, though no civilians were hurt.

Ten years ago, an elementary school near the Grafenwöhr installation was hit by a shell during training.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:21 July 12, 2011 by Celeon
Well its not a secret that some of such occassions happen on purpose.

Insurance fraud. ;-)

At least i know that this was sort of decade old "tradition" between german residents and british soldiers in the west of Germany.

You approach a british soldier and ask him to "accidently" hit your car with his tank next time he's driving to the firing range.

A typical road accident. The british MOD pays compensation for the damage automatically, and the british soldier later recieves a certain percentage of the recieved compensation on some quiet street corner. ;-)
23:13 July 12, 2011 by Persian=Anti-Arabism
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:20 July 12, 2011 by c12dat
That is a serious safety failure. A career ender for who ever was behind the trigger and his supervisor.

I am glad no one got hurt.
23:25 July 12, 2011 by whpmgr
Celeon: What an incredible thing to say. I am sure it may have happened, but to intimate that a British or American Soldier would fire live ammo into a house or building to commit fraud is so wrong that you should be ashamed of yoruself. It is a long road between crashing into a car (if that ever happened much) and firing live rounds into a school or residential building.

Persian: When the US takes it's soldiers back, and the British finish pulling out, you will see what economic disasters will be like in the -often high unemployment small towns where the soldiers go and spend their money.

Kaiserslautern will surely feel the pain if the US ever pulls out, and it has over 100,000 inhabitants in the Kreiss. Think, soem small town with nothing more than a base near it, miesau, baumholder, (fill in any other name) and look at what happened. When Bitburg closed a great many jobs went with it. Hahn was even worse. The devastation to the locals that bought houses to rent to Ami's and retire off of it caused many a person to have to change their plans. When there are no jobs, you can't easily change your plans.

It is probably the US forces were out of their prescribed box and were pointed in teh wrong direction. They normally look at teh maximum effective range of the rounds being fired and build a safety margin around that scenario that would avoid rounds going into unsafe environments. I thank God that no one was hurt and that only a few red faces are the result.

When you say AmiGo Home, think of the results. We are Amigos. But when you think of us in terms of Ami's, we have meant you no harm, a great deal has happened to go against us while we were there. We have had experiences that were bad on both sides. I remember a disco in Berlin, the bombing in Frankfurt, the kidnapping and murder of soem young american soldiers by the RAF...etc. I know of several poor families killed by tanks in reforger exercises. I remember a couple of families killed in an air crash of a Star fighter in Frankfurt and the crash of tricolori at Ramstein. We have both bled, but both countries have benefited from the great American/German (or German American -if you like) friendship forged over several decades. I married a German, my son is a dual citizen. I love Germany and hope it continues to prosper.
23:54 July 12, 2011 by Persian=Anti-Arabism
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:07 July 13, 2011 by wxman
Woops! Enshuldigen uns bitte!
08:53 July 13, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ whpmgr,

"When the US takes it's soldiers back, and the British finish pulling out, you will see what economic disasters will be like in the -often high unemployment small towns where the soldiers go and spend their money."

While the closure of the US bases would mean less money for the German economy, the impact is far from being significant and we cannot talk about an economic disaster. An analysis estimated that, taking Bremen as example, less than 10% of the American salaries were spent in the local economy. Most of the purchases were made in the shops on the base. The reason is the consistent depreciation of the dollar. A US report from 1995 on the closure of some US bases stated that "Some communities with a high dependence on US defense spending have not suffered at all as a result of the drawdown. Certain consolidation sites, such as Heidelberg and Ramstein, have actually benefited." With the German economy going pretty well and unemployment at an historic low (the government actually needs 100,000 immigrants as labour force), the economic impact is is not so important. Of course it is not fun for the one losing the job, but it is far from being the end of the world, even if relocation would be needed.

Please note that I am neutral in the matter of the closure of the US bases. I just contributed with some facts in order to temper some exaggerated statements.
13:21 July 13, 2011 by Englishted

Do you really believe the unemployment figures?

I have seen in the Local 25% of Germany's workers are 400 euro part time jobs.

Many more work through agencies with low pay and very little prospects of real long term work.

I have said it before and will keep saying it ,these people will have no retirement pension and it is the biggest time bomb Germany at the moment is ignoring.
17:54 July 13, 2011 by whpmgr
ChrisRea, I respect your statistics. Just as the info you have stated is printed by the Govt, so is the official Unemployment data in the US printed to be at below 9.2%. It is actually well above 10% throughout most of the US. Stats say what the Pols want them to.

I know I bought a house in Ramstein in 1998. I spent well over 100,000 DM to remodel it and did the work myself, so it was all just the materials. It was valued at 400,000 DM at the time I retired and came back to teh states. I cant sell it for near what is owed on it and so many people are out of work it is rediculous. The jobs in Ramstein, did not replace all of the jobs lost in the Frankfurt area. In fact, when you state Heidleberg, you ahve to know that the US is moving people out of Heidleberg very soon and will consolidate more the number of psoitions left in Germany.

The Eifel felt a serious crunch. You can read the newspapers, but go around to the local bars and restaurants and see if life is as good as it was.

You are right the dollar is dead and the Euro prices keep a great deal of people from shopping. Stop by the Kino in Landstuhl and see if their revenue is as good as it was.

One last thing. When you look at what a small Coffee pot cost in the old days, lets say around 5 DM, and then you see that they made the germans give up the DM and get 1 Euro for every 2DM, and then see that the COffee cost 4.5 Euros, yous ee that people just kept the same basic pricing, dropped a few pennies and charged Double what they were charging for their products. How can the US (for fuel) get away with producing a gallon of gas (it all comes from teh same locations) charge taxes and still get only 3.60 dollars for a gallon when the Europeans are paying almost $8 per gallon- greed, over taxing, no more benefits and hell on the consumer.

OK, so, what I am saying is the papers and the government are in collusion with each other to bring less truth and reality to the table and the average German citizen knows it. I got to Germany in 1982. In 1985, there were more Americans there than anywhere else in the world, over 500,000 including mil, families, and other workers. It was the largest Ami population outside of teh COntinental US. Germany is going to feel it when the last of the Brits and Amis GO HOME. So when you scream Auslander Raus, think about the effects to the real people. The costs of German defense go up, the abilities go down since they cant possible keep the amount of defense they really need adn it goes to hell quickly from there.
18:46 July 13, 2011 by Thekla
It's always that school---it is just in the wrong place.
23:23 July 13, 2011 by c12dat
Hello ChrisRea,

Back in '93, I had an intresting conversation with a German on Wiesbaden Airbase. He was irate because of the helicopter noise and then the conversation digressed toward "Why the US military have not left Germany now that the Cold War was over." I was a young officer, new to the Army, and did not have any knowledge of history or current events to properly answer him. But I did tell him that the US forces have pulled out about 200,000 people (service members, family members, contractors, and other government employees). I told him that if each one of those people spend 5DM for a pack of gum or a bottle of water a week, that equates to 4 million DM a month that is not going into the local economy. Mind you that we are not even talking about money spent on eating out, rental property, taxi, buying stuff at the flohmarkt, local dry cleaning, and so forth. Add it up and that comes to around 48 million DM a year for stuff we spent with our pocket change. The German guy was quiet but he looked angrily at me. I also mentioned to him that all the US Army Kasern that are closed now are filled with war refugees from the Bosnian war. Those Auslander refugees are being supported with tax money from the German government. So double money are lost from the closure of the US Kaserns. You are correct. Our spenditure in Germany is a small blip in the grand scheme of things. But if you have visited a former US Kassern and the local establishments and realized what what there before; you will be sad. Drive out to Mainz-Finthen and look there. Go to Giessen, go to Friedberg. My former airbase at Giebelstadt; brand new 7000ft runway; now use mainly for an aero club flying gliders. The Lutz gasthause use to be filled with US customers through out the week, now empty. Frau Lutz when I spoke to here a few a years ago; wished that business were better. All those closed down bases will take years to convert to other uses; the money is not there to do anything with them commercially. I don't think there are enough money to even maintain them.

@Persian .... I don't know why your comments were removed. I did not think your comments were unappropriate. The moderators should put back your comments in my opinion.

Eventually the US will bring home most of our troops. That will be a sad day. I wished that others military members have the same wonderful experience I had overseas.
23:49 July 13, 2011 by ChrisRea

"So when you scream Auslander Raus, think about the effects to the real people."

Did you really read my posting? Did you notice the part where I said that I am neutral about closure of US bases?

Do you have only anecdotal evidence or also something really valuable? I understand that it is comforting to consider that your country has a huge positive economic impact on Germany through the military bases, but if you look at the situation objectively you see that this is far from reality. And it is not (only) Germans who say that, but Americans who cared to study the real situation and not rely on subjective testimonies like "life/world was much better when I was young".

Regarding fuel prices, if you do a bit of research you will surely understand that many European countries use the fuel tax as an instrument to decrease dependence on fossil fuels (usually imported), reduce traffic and pollution.
22:28 July 14, 2011 by whpmgr
Chris Rea. Obama says he is in favor of making America stronger, he says it so it must be true, right? Of course if I were you, and I had an agenda, I would probably hide it so I may be taken more seriously. So I am open and have an agenda. It is what I lived for 14 years in Germany, and while it lacked exact figures, it surely wasn't only anecdotal. I go back once in awhile to the old areas I used to stomp and nothing is better. In Kaiserslautern, there was a small increase in Americans due to the Closure of Rhein Main. But the town of Ramstein built a few thousand homes expecting everyone (not the town but people and developers there) and it didn¦#39;t appear.

GM is there but is trying to close and sell. NO other industry (with more than a few workers, lets say Keiper is the employer that has the most employees....most companies have may less than 100 employees, with the economy going down, and germany still in need of more money to fuel its unemployment checks and lack of Nuclear power- needs to keep the country going, I think the case was made well by c12dat.

You may really have no axe to grind, but the effects of the lack of Americans in many non industrial areas has caused major havoc. Look at Sembach.

Hey I had a great time in Germany, but it didn't cloud my thinking as I was integrating and making life long friends. You may or may not be German. You are surely Liberal, and have a different slant on life and the world, and what makes it go around than I do, but I tell you this, if you are saying that there is little noticeable affect by the US and GB leaving you are detached from reality yourself. Thousands of lives count on that money, and there is no way I can see or have read about that the German Government or anyone else-for that matter, can replace the money currently be spent. Maybe in the future, but for now it is going to cost unemployment money, then income will drop drastically around all of the bases, and many will have to go bankrupt, or out of business. Less services will be used and that will cause business to buy less of the products they use, which will cut production, and cause slow downs and maybe layoffs.

If you look at the Macro economic effect, you will see that it isnt paltry, and it will be noticed. Should the US leave? Maybe, but when we are needed again, and we will be, it will cost so much to get there that it may be better to leave a contingent in the country.

I don¦#39;t care. I retired from the Military, I live in Los Angeles, and I have ex-in-laws there now. I love them and hope all will be well for them, but I fear that the American Military problem is the least of the problems facing Germany in the very near future. They need to bring under control the amount of money taken in taxes for fuel and everything else and stop just taking. They need to give value for the money they steal from the working class, and take a whole lot less. Socialism will kill Germany if it isn¦#39;t controlled.
04:00 July 15, 2011 by german-guardian
@ ChrisRea

Thank you my friend, totally agree with you and great explanation.
08:50 July 15, 2011 by heyheyhey

The article is about stray bullets. It is not about how important the Amis think they are. Oh, pardon me. I forgot that the world revolves around you rhambo boys.

c12dat: yah, right, a career ender. Since when has the US military ever accepted responsibility for it's screw ups? Throw some more data at me so that you can impress me even more. If you have such a grasp of economics what are you doing hanging out here?

whpmgr: why is it that you military boys need to believe you are so important to the world?
17:20 July 15, 2011 by whpmgr
@heyheyhey: WE military boys are only important when soemone is kicking in your door, raping your women and killing your kids. THen you -who ar enot bold enough to give even a couple of years to your country's military-let alone 20 or more, will cry and say, someone please save me. It is the same story. Us Military boys are all baby killers, until you need us to stop the real ones from killing your baby. SO the US is not the Omnipotent country, and I, like my forbearers are not the end all of humanity. There is a place for us in society and it is an important one. THen there are peace loving, conflict avoiding people like you who try to run the world, scoffing at us MILITARY boys, who wind up creating the problems that require a need for us.

I think it is a great relationship. You make the problems, being the one who thinks that only love and understanding will heal and make the world a better place. I am here, as are all those in the service of every country's military, to pick up the pieces when your way doesnt work.

Also, in your comment to cdat12, the military is full of very smart and capable people who feel compelled to serve their country. They dont get off on killing people, but realize that if you aren't ready to, people will see yoru country as weak and you will be attacked- so they are called a deterrent. Eisenhower was a Military man, and since you are obviosuly a socialist commie, Mao was too....

Peace and Love to you all, and may we never need the military, but if we do, I pray they are trained adn competent- and you can't do that without shooting some bullets and dropping soem bombs.
18:03 July 15, 2011 by Redwing
It is time they packed up and went home.
20:19 July 15, 2011 by whpmgr
Redwing: SOmeday we will pack up. So your wish will probably be granted in the next few years, or at least, many more Military will leave. It has to be that way unless there is a war. BUt it will be a sad day. We might as well end NATO and let Europe fend for themselves too. That will bring about a political shift, which will bring about conflict of interests, new alliances, and also new conflicts. There will then be soem sort of war, and occupation will once again happen, maybe you guys will occupy the US soem day, if you could get yoru military forces together, build a force that is a true threat across other borders and your technology will be such that you will have enough High tech to save you.
09:26 July 16, 2011 by heyheyhey
@whpmgr.........eeewwwww........a little touchy now, aren't you? Who is it that kicks in doors and rapes women??? Several months ago I attentively listened to an hour long program where female US soldiers talked about the horrendous numbers of them that had been raped by YOU BOYS, their comrads, who serve beside them and supposedly protect people from rape, and other atrocities. Re. peace loving people .........I am one, and I would not hesitate to say that if the world could get rid of the likes of you, there would be no wars. War actually is really a man's game, don't you think???? Not all men though. My brother refused to go to war because he also believes that the wars that the US has been fighting during the last half of the 20th century are WRONG and UNNECESSARY. They have been wars of choice for the US, not wars where the US fought to protect humanity, but wars where the US fought to obtain gains and goodies for the US. Those of you who so proudly serve, since the beginning of the 1950 are deluded. You serve because you need to feel important. I say this today, after hearing my coworker talk about his nephew who just died in Afghanistan. This young man had already served two tours in IRAQ. He did not need to go to another battle area. He had just gotten married and his new wife was expecting. He signed on to go to Afghanistan for one reason only........he clearly told his family that if he was really going to be a marine, like the rest of the guys, he had to do Afghanistan too. It was all about being someone. He never talked about saving the civilians over there. Only about his buddies. So, don't tell me your crap about how you ole military boys are about protecting other nations. I don't buy it.

BTW........us peace loving people solve problems, without guns, without killing and without the demeaning name calling that you just engaged in.

You got your feathers a bit ruffled and were ready to get out the ammi!

You show your true colors pal. You don't fool anyone when you run your mouth about all this crap you need to believe so that you can do what you do. In my world it is called brainwashing and I do know that you get a sh!t load of it in the military.

23:28 July 17, 2011 by wenddiver
@heyheyhey- You "Peace loving boys" seemed to be absent at the Elbe River in 1945, when Germany needed somebody to stop them from raping the rest of Germany????

You guys alwys seem to be absent when their is any danger.

Big mouth, small -------, no action. Ever wonder why there are no monuments to fat computer bloggers who stayed home and helped nobody, risked nothing, thought they were the World and that they were so valuable they could not be risked,??? God help us if we ever lost our elite corps of do nothing siiies who criticize the Men and Women who defend us.
00:04 July 19, 2011 by whpmgr
HEYHEYHEY: I am not defensive. I am looking at things from a realistic view. You cannot reolve problems peacefully without the threat of action if soemone doesn't comply with an agreement. Yes, Kennedy didn't start WWIII by using diplomacy to get the missiles out of Cuba. WOuld you agree he did that? Well, if we didnt have a fleet and bombers ready, do you think Kruschev would have balked and removed the missiles? So some person went in, bluffed and it worked. THe soldiers went back into the box awaiting another time to be used, or not.

So who is a better human?

MOst of the time we dont use the guns in open warfare. SOmetimes it takes a silent bullet, or as the russians used to do, the poisened tip of an umbrella. But the credible threat of military action has stopped more wars than you will ever know.

I am sorry for some friend losing a son. It has happened to a few thousand Americans in the last 10 years. In NOrmandy, way back in that time most people use to attack Germany with, more americans died in one day than did so far in the entire war. I am talking about acceptable losses, for the loss of one life, will not be acceptable to friends and loved ones. Of course, your reference point, along with your best friend Michale moore, is that we are all baby killers.

Women get raped. The Military man is almost an example of the society, so there will be crime and rapes in uniform. Probably less than have happened in a catholic church done by even more screened priests. So I am not surprised a few american women get attacked, or even raped. It is not acceptable nor is it right and the attacker almost always will go to jail in the military, but not always in the publ;ic system. We are tougher on our own that you guys seem to be on yours.

You are passive aggressive, so I may tell you to your face (in print) what I think of you, people like you say it in some subtle under the breath way that is as cowardly as you portray yoruself.

Finally, teh young many who lost his life, felt the pressure to fit in and be a part. To be a soldier and avoid conflict on purpose is unexcuseable- if your partner in the fox hole can die ar eyou right for avoiding the fight so you can't? We have a tight knit family in uniform. Soldiers around teh world recognize it and give tribute to it. You say hello to a man in uniform and he says hello back. You look at people in the eye. You stand tall and take what is given. You are measured by your ability to be afraid but still react the right way. It is not brainwashing, it is conditioning. Small difference? If we were in a bar talking now, I would hear yo out and converse, you would walk away, shout, call names, beat me up to shut me up (if you were able to) - you would deprive me, the sick guy, oif the right to talk. That is the difference.
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