updated 7/29/2005 6:57:58 PM ET 2005-07-29T22:57:58

The U.S. Army will pull out of 13 bases in southern Germany as part of its repositioning of American forces around the world, its European headquarters said Friday.

Eleven bases in and around the Bavarian city of Würzburg will be handed over to the German government by September 2007, the Army’s European headquarters in Heidelberg said. Two more bases near Würzburg will close and be handed over in subsequent years.

The Defense Department said the changes will affect about 6,100 soldiers and 11,000 family members as well as about 1,000 Army civilian employees and 1,000 civilians employed locally.

While facilities like the huge Ramstein Air Base, a hub for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are being retained, Washington is bringing many units home and opening smaller, more flexible bases abroad to respond to new threats such as international terrorism.

The new bases will host U.S.-based troops rotating through for shorter periods of time, without the schools and family housing that went with Cold War-era bases.

Leftover from the Cold War
The U.S. military still has about 62,000 service members based in Germany, a legacy of the Cold War. U.S. officials have said that will fall to as few as 20,000. The military has said a total of about 50,000 troops will be brought home from Germany and South Korea.

The closures announced Friday are part of plans for most of the Würzburg-based 1st Infantry Division to return to the United States in mid-2006 and plans to relocate, convert and deactivate other parts of the Army’s 5th Corps. The military also has said it will move the Wiesbaden-based 1st Armored Division — the other main element of 5th Corps — out of Germany.

The Pentagon reiterated Friday that it intends to base a mobile Stryker Combat Brigade Team in Vilseck, also in Bavaria, near the Army’s sprawling training range at Graefenwoehr, to be deployed in 2006 or 2007.

The Pentagon identified the bases to close by September 2007 as: Harvey Barracks, Kitzingen Family Housing, Kitzingen Training Area, Larson Barracks and Schwanberg DCS Site, all in Kitzingen; Faulenberg Kaserne, Würzburg Training Areas, and Breitsol Communications Station, all in Wuerzburg, and Giebelstadt Army Airfield, Giebelstadt DYA Camp, and Giebelstadt Tactical Defense Facility in Giebelstadt.

Leighton Barracks in Würzurg and Würzburg Hospital are to close later.

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