U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder
Known as the “Home of Champions,” the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder 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 16th Sustainment Brigade.
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.
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 was 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 change of command ceremony, the brigade’s leadership said goodbye to Baumholder and a new brigade leadership team took over what was the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team until it was deactivatede in 2013. Under U.S. Army in Europe transformation, the 16th Sustainment Brigade moved from USAG Bamberg to USAG Baumholder the same year – making it the largest unit in USAG Baumholder today.