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Civilian employees on the move as Army closes facilities in Europe

Mar. 29, 2013 - 12:40PM   |  
By MICHELLE TAN and STEVE WATKINS   |   Comments
The Army is also closing 48 facilities in Mannheim, Darmstadt and Heidelberg, above, and consolidating those assets into Wiesbaden, which U.S. Army Europe headquarters now calls home.
The Army is also closing 48 facilities in Mannheim, Darmstadt and Heidelberg, above, and consolidating those assets into Wiesbaden, which U.S. Army Europe headquarters now calls home. (Army)

The Army is dramatically shrinking its footprint in Europe, moving as many as 10,000 soldiers and up to 25,000 dependents back to the U.S. and shuttering billions of dollars in facilities as part of a major overhaul of forces.

And those moves are affecting hundreds of civilian employees who support those installations.

“It’s been stressful for soldiers and civilians over the last several years,” said U.S. Army Europe Command spokesman Bruce Anderson.

By 2015, the Army will have about 30,000 soldiers stationed at seven major installations in Europe — down from a post-Cold War high of more than 250,000 soldiers spread across 41 major garrisons. As the Army’s oldest and largest overseas command, U.S. Army Europe has been home to nearly 12 million soldiers and families over 68 years.

By 2015, the seven main garrisons remaining will be: Wiesbaden, Grafenwoehr, Ansbach, Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern, all in Germany; Vicenza, Italy; and Benelux, a union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, headquartered in Brussels.

Key units that have been inactivated or will inactivate are the 170th and the 172nd Brigade Combat teams and V Corps headquarters, whose 700 soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan.

Since 2006, the Army has closed 103 sites, a senior official said.

The Army is also closing 48 facilities in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Darmstadt, and consolidating those assets into Wiesbaden, which U.S. Army Europe headquarters now calls home.

Those closings will result in roughly 1,500 Army civilian positions being eliminated, Anderson said. Those employees are being reassigned, having their assignments curtailed or returning to stateside jobs, he said, adding that no involuntary separations or reductions in force are expected.

The Army also will close its posts in Schweinfurt and Bamberg by 2015, the senior official said.

In addition, 160 Army civilian positions are being eliminated by the end of this summer at the headquarters offices of U.S. Army Europe Command, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and Joint Multi-National Training Command, all in Germany. Some of those cuts could result in involuntary separations, Anderson said, but “we’ve been able to mitigate a lot of that already” so no involuntary separations have been necessary so far.

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