KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany --Frankfurt's Gateway Reception Center, located in the Frankfurt International Airport will officially close Sept. 30. The closure is the final step in a process that began in February to migrate Army PCS incoming travelers to the Ramstein Gateway Reception Center located in the Ramstein Air Base Passenger Terminal.

Since February, the bulk of Army PCS travelers to Germany have been diverted to Ramstein, after reinstatement of the Patriot Express flights as the primary method of official travel for Soldier being assigned to U.S. Army Europe units. The Patriot Express is a Department of Defense chartered air travel, which originates at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Maryland.

"The obvious impact is there will no longer be a Soldier presence at the Frankfurt airport, other than individual sponsors, " said Maj. Patrick Niestzche, 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 1st Human Resources Sustainment Center. " The closure of the FGRC means that all Soldiers arriving to USAREUR will be processed through the RGRC. If they arrive into Frankfurt airport, the responsibility to take care of their transition will belong to their new unit and sponsor."

The sponsorship bus service will also stop in conjunction with the FGRC closure, and there will no longer be transportation to outlying communities after Sept. 30, said Niestzche. "Soldiers and their families travelling on leave would often use the sponsorship bus on a space-available basis," he said.

Should Soldiers arrive at the Frankfurt airport, they may seek assistance at the USO, located in Hall C of Terminal 2. The USO has telephones and computers for use to make contact with sponsors or their unit of assignment.

The FGRC was once the reception and staging point for all Soldiers and their family members entering the European theater on permanent-change-of-station orders.

At the height of the FGRC's existence, the 22-person staff daily monitored 40 flights originating from the United States with 12 buses shuttling Soldiers and family members to 11 different communities throughout Germany.

Those that have questions about the Patriot Express should visit http://www.eur.army.mil/g1/content/misc/RGRC/index.html or contact the Ramstein Gateway Reception Center at DSN 479-4298 or civilian 06371-46-4298.

Page last updated Wed September 26th, 2012 at 00:00