The first redeployment of forces from Germany took place in 1968, with the removal of about 28,000 military personnel from Germany.
Concerned that the withdrawals not send a message of weakness or lack of resolve to either the Europeans or the Soviets, the Department of Defense devised a strategy called dual basing.
Under this arrangement troops stationed in the United States would be airlifted each year for training in West Germany with NATO army groups. The REFORGER, or Return of Forces to Germany, exercises were designed both to enhance the military capabilities of the U.S. and allied forces and to reassure the NATO participants of the firm U.S. commitment to the alliance.
The first of these exercises, REFORGER I, was conducted in January 1969 and more than 12,000 Soldiers returned to Germany using pre-positioned equipment. The REFORGER exercises would continue for 40 years.
In 1977, female Soldiers participated in REFORGER for the first time so the Army could study the effect of women on unit mission during deployment and operations under extended field conditions.
We'll be highlighting U.S. Army Europe's history over the next 11 weeks as we countdown to our 75th birthday. Follow along with #75Strong!
About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.