SMITH BARRACKS, Germany – Crews carrying out projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working diligently to renovate and modernize administrative buildings, barracks and other facilities at the base here as part of larger program to prepare the Baumholder Military Community for growth in the coming years.
As part of a long-planned move, some rotational forces supporting U.S. Special Operations Command Europe now operating out of U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart are expected to begin operating out of Smith Barracks as early as this summer.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District has been working closely with SOCEUR, U.S. Special Operations Command, Installation Management Command-Europe and U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz – which includes the Baumholder Military Community – to ensure the installation is ready for its new tenants.
“USACE’s role is to renovate and construct the facilities in Baumholder which are needed for special operations forces to successfully execute their mission,” said Europe District Program Manager Steve Schluth. “The move is important to relieve the overcrowding in Stuttgart. Our work will provide these SOF units with the space needed for training and increased capacity and capabilities and it feels good to support this important mission.”
Initially, fewer than 500 personnel are expected to be part of this move, which will allow rotational forces the necessary physical space to conduct required training. Additional personnel are scheduled to rotate at Smith Barracks in the coming years. SOCEUR’s headquarters will remain in Stuttgart.
“The presence of U.S. special operations forces in Europe reassures our allies and partners and allows us to respond to threats in that region as required,” said Lt. Col. Jerrauld Ma, SOCEUR engineer. “This is a team effort with stakeholders across the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Installation Management Command-Europe, USSOCOM and other partners on relocating personnel to Baumholder, which addresses space constraints in Stuttgart and ensures that USSOF remain engaged, postured, and ready to deter adversaries, reassure our allies and partners, and defeat enemies.”
With U.S. facilities at Stuttgart becoming crowded, Baumholder was identified as a place with additional space available for troops and training. It also had multiple existing available facilities as well as many that required only renovation to be ready for use, rather than entirely new construction.
“Here in Baumholder we happen to have a lot of existing, unoccupied buildings - including barracks and administrative facilities - that just need some updating and modernizing to be able to support units,” said Europe District Project Engineer Chris Hood while recently checking progress at ongoing renovations of administrative facilities. “We were told to ensure the facilities for incoming personnel meet or exceed the standards at the facilities they’re leaving and I’m proud to say the team is delivering some very nice facilities for the SOF personnel.”
Just recently, multiple freshly renovated barracks facilities were already turned over to the installation for use to support the initial arrival of troops.
Crews are actively renovating several administrative facilities, many dating back to prior to World War II, that special operations forces will use in the future.
“The buildings we’re renovating have great, solid bones and even survived allied bombings back in World War II,” Hood said. “We’re keeping historic exterior features like the stone doorway arches while also ensuring the new users will have modern, up-to-date facilities and connections inside to plan and carry out their important missions.”
Additional support facilities like storage, a language lab, maintenance facilities and more are also planned and infrastructure improvements are underway as well to support the joint personnel from U.S. Special Operations Command with their unique missions and requirements.
Baumholder will also be home to various new training facilities in the planning and design phases to accommodate the requirements of its new tenants.
“We look forward to this move benefiting the entire US European Command theatre at large that we work closely with and support, since the new and upgraded facilities will provide additional training capabilities for U.S. military and our allies and partners,” said SOCEUR Deputy Director of Logistics John Myhre.
In addition to facilities specifically for special operations forces personnel at Smith Barracks, the Baumholder Military Community at large will benefit from planned improvements focused on delivering on the Army’s commitment to quality of life. Some of these projects in planning and design stages include renovating existing Army family housing, building more the 100 new Army family homes and new Department of Defense Education Activity schools for students from elementary through high school.