By Ignacio Rubalcava (USAG BaumholderJanuary 19, 2012
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Local mayors and German military officials received a look at Baumholder's future from Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo Dec. 12 during a mayor's luncheon at the Rheinlander Community Club.
A key point was the announcement of Baumholder's reporting authority eventually shifting from U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden to U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern.
This move will involve some restructuring of garrison personnel and is expected to be completed in late 2013.
Baumholder is also planning on receiving three additional units that will boost the garrison civilian and military population slightly. The 720th Explosives Detachment, the 51st Transportation Company and the 421st Medical Battalion Headquarters are expected to arrive this summer. "I think that's a total of maybe 175 Soldiers and their family members," said McAdoo.
Baumholder facilities and future construction were also high on the commander's agenda.
"There is nothing that our Soldiers and families really have to leave Baumholder for, because all of our services are here," said McAdoo.
There are exceptions if special medical care is needed or if there is something special that Soldiers or family members may want to purchase.
"But, by and large, day to day, Soldiers and their families can stay right here in Baumholder, in this area and do all their shopping and take care of all their needs," said McAdoo.
Training opportunities also abound in Baumholder for units that are here, and that's what McAdoo told the local officials. "We've got the 7th Army Joint Military Training Support Center here that provides some of the simulators, whether it's tank simulators, or artillery simulators, or the whole gamut of combat arms simulators.
"The second part of that is our partnership with the German army and their ability to support us in the larger training areas if we want to do some maneuvers or use the firing ranges," said McAdoo.
A high operations tempo has kept Baumholder Soldiers busy with training and supporting numerous military operations since 1993. So the training opportunities here have been a great plus for the Soldiers.
"From 1993 up through 2011 this community has been pretty busy supporting those military operations," said McAdoo.
"Over that period we've had to not only support those operations but we've slowly started drawing down some of our forces on the local national side and on the military side. We've been given guidance to reduce."
The housing area in Neubruecke along with Strass-burg Kaserne have closed "and all the while we still need to support an active military community as they go into combat operations," said McAdoo.
In sharp contrast to reducing the Baumholder military footprint, numerous initiatives are either under way or on the drawing board that reflect Baumholder's endurance, at least for the near future.
An array of construction projects are now in progress. Roads are under repair, back- hoes are digging trenches for new heating lines. Housing units have been evacuated and are ready to be demolished to make room for new townhouses. The clinic facility is receiving a much needed face lift -- the list goes on.
Forecasted quality-of-life projects not readily visible include a new middle school and a brand-new high school. "Military construction is also looking at a new firing range,but I don't know if there is a date associated with that," said McAdoo. Other improvements include a new Warrior Zone, a youth center, bowling center upgrades, Army lodging upgrades, PX and Shoppette expansions and an upgraded Auto Skills Center.
"All of this stuff starts to add up and when you look at the total, between fiscal year 10 and FY 18, over that period, what's going to be invested in Baumholder is half a billion dollars," said McAdoo.
Building new facilities and developing the garrison helps improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their families but the garrison is also putting a strong emphasis on protecting the environment and helping to conserve and protect Germany's national resources. Some of the environmental initiatives the garrison is undertaking, in conjunction with the city, include the recently launched recycling program, an environmental program and an energy program. " We continue to push ourselves forward in trying to recycle as much as we can and working in partnership with private organizations and private business to reduce our costs here on the garrison," said McAdoo.
The garrison is also working on establishing a bio- mass energy plant and "we're pushing for a meter reading system of our buildings so we know how much each building is using, so we can then put pressure on folks to reduce their energy costs," said McAdoo.
"I think that for the foreseeable future, Baumholder is going to be a thriving community. There's lots of investment going on here and I need your help, to the extent that you can help me, in supporting potential housing off the installation as we start to rightsize more and more units and lose our total population of available units.
"The takeaway is, there is a lot of money being spent, Baumholder is going to stay around awhile. That's a good news story."