Known as the "Home of Champions", the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder (USAG) is located in the wooded hills of the Western Palatinate in the German federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz, only 30 miles from the French and Luxemburg borders. H.D. Smith Barracks, commonly called Baumholder, sets aside the German city of Baumholder and is the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder Headquarters as well as the home of the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Baumholder is like a stateside military post in many respects. It has all of the facilities that would be found in an American town of the same population: schools, churches, medical facilities, recreational facilities, banks, a variety of stores, and all other necessities. All this and even more make Baumholder a beautiful place to be all you can be.
The U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder and the surrounding area have a colorful history dating back to 1,000 B.C., when the first farmers settled in the area. Since then, the land fell under the dominion of the Romans, the Franks, and a succession of French and German rulers.
The name Baumholder has been associated with modern military activities since 1937, when the German government needed a large area for military training. Due to its varied terrain - forests, fields, hills and valleys - a sparse population, an area of approximately 25,000 acres to the north and northeast of the city of Baumholder was selected to become one of the largest military training areas in Germany. Some 13 villages and 14 farms and mills, including 722 houses with 842 families (4,060 inhabitants) were evacuated.
After World War II, the military installation was occupied by the French Army, and in 1951, the post was turned over to the Americans. Combat Command R of the 2nd Armored Division was the first U.S. unit to occupy Baumholder. The same year, an extensive construction program was begun to build facilities to house the families of military personnel. The French, however, retained overall control of the maneuver area and established their Headquarters at Camp Aulenbach, a Kasern adjacent to what is now H.D. Smith Barracks.
In March 1952, the 293rd Engineer Battalion (Construction), previously located in Karlsruhe, was transferred to Baumholder and has been permanently stationed here until 1993. Then, it was replaced by the 40th Engineer Battalion. Elements of the 2nd Armored Division remained at Baumholder until December 1957, when it was replaced by armor, infantry and field artillery units of the 8th Infantry Division.
In March 1960, the Baumholder maneuver training area (MTA) was transferred from French to German control. The German garrison moved to Camp Aulenbach replacing the French while the U.S. units remained at Baumholder proper.
On 17 January 1992, 8th Infantry Division was deactivated and the 1st Armored Division was activated at Baumholder.On 15 July 2009, in a combined reflagging and change of command ceremony, the brigade's leadership said goodbye to Baumholder and a new brigade leadership team took over what is now the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Baumholder today represents one of the largest concentration of U.S. Army combat units outside the CONUS. The maneuver training area (MTA) is now used by varied NATO forces as a major European training area.
"Community Services," social services, information and referral are provided by the "We Care Team". Our outstanding family support program reaches out through the Army Community Service program to all members of the community with support, helping hands and information to answer any question or need. There are two elementary and one high school to serve the educational needs.
Pre-school and child care facilities are located in each housing area; Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation services programs offer a wide variety of programs. Medical and dental facilities are conveniently located in the community. The military shopping facilities are noted for being among the best in Europe.
Baumholder boasts its own golf course, an indoor swimming pool, camping site, and many other recreational and sports facilities.
Many German-American events/programs provide a good opportunity to explore and get acquainted with the local population and area. Baumholder offers unlimited opportunities for training and off-duty enjoyment, and is ideally situated for travel to other European countries - Belgium, France and Luxemburg are within a one-hour drive.
Baumholder is a great place to live, joining people of two diverse cultures and backgrounds, Germans and Americans, into one forward-looking community embodying the best of two highly capable nations.
*The Information above was taken from U.S. Army Garrison, Baumholder Public Affairs Website, http://www.baumholder.army.mil/sites/local/FactsFigures.asp
Military recreational facilities include a bowling alley, gymnasiums, a movie theater, tennis courts, Armed Forces Radio and Television, as well as trips and tours through the USO. The Army Health Clinic in Baumholder accepts civilians on a space available basis. Except for emergencies, civilians are not eligible for dental care. Euros is the currency used on the economy, while military and government facilities use dollars. Full banking services are available through the Community Bank and Service Federal Credit Union. ATMs are available on base.
Teachers are not eligible for government housing. Apartments and houses on the economy are available through Housing Referral or commercial agencies. Housing is sometimes difficult to find in Baumholder. There are surrounding villages though that have housing. Initial costs include a 1-month rent deposit or a fee, if a commercial rental agency is used. Rents vary from $700 to $2,000 and up based upon the value of the Euro against the U.S. dollar. Housing supply provides some furniture and large appliances, but some items are in short supply. Electricity is 220 volts, 50 cycles. American appliances require a transformer, which can be purchased at post exchanges and thrift shops.
New or used vehicles may be purchased locally. Repair facilities are available for both American and foreign vehicles. Licensing and registration procedures are handled within the community. Commercial transportation is readily available (military shuttle bus, German buses, taxis).