At first glance, March 20, doesn’t seem to be an important date in U.S. Army Europe’s history. However, on this day 65 years ago a predecessor of today’s U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz was activated in Kaiserslautern, marking the beginning of the U.S. Army presence in town.
When thousands of service members arrived in Europe after 1950 to deter Soviet aggression, the Kaiserslautern area was earmarked to become a mainstay of the U.S. Air Force, but the city also received numerous Army units. A military hospital, several major depots and countless other units turned the Kaiserslautern area into a major Army hub in Europe.
To provide community support to Army installations in Rheinland-Pfalz, the Rhine Military Post was activated in Kaiserslautern on March 20, 1951.
The RMP’s area of responsibility included all Army installations in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, making it one of the largest military posts and an almost perfect image of today’s USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. Various reorganizations in decades to come would naturally change the area of responsibility administered by Kaiserslautern’s community support organization, at times confining it to the immediate environs of Kaiserslautern.
Some of these changes even brought two community support organizations to Kaiserslautern: a local service provider in charge of Kaiserslautern, Landstuhl and Miesau and a higher headquarters for several such local organizations throughout Rheinland-Pfalz.
On Dec. 1, 1952, the RMP was re-designated as Western Area Command with the Kaiserslautern District — later Kaiserslautern Subarea — providing local community support in the Kaiserslautern area. As WACOM was incorporated into the Northern Area Command in Frankfurt in 1959, all of its subareas were re-flagged as posts. By 1964, the Kaiserslautern Post was one of 11 throughout Germany.
To better reflect the fact that the Kaiserslautern Post actually covered an area several thousand square miles in size, the unit was renamed Palatinate District on July 1, 1965 and Support District Rheinland-Pfalz on July 1, 1968. SUPDIST Rheinland-Pfalz provided community support to all Army communities in Rheinland-Pfalz and operated several support activities in communities. Kaiserslautern Support Activity was activated July 1, 1970 and headquartered on Vogelweh.
On July 1, 1974, all support districts were deactivated while support activities were re-flagged as U.S. Military Community Activities. The USMCA Kaiserslautern now reported to the 1st Support Brigade on Panzer Kaserne, a predecessor of today’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command. The new USMCA structures proved to be very successful in mastering the challenges of the 1970s and 1980s and endured for 17 years.
All USMCAs were replaced by a hierarchy of area support groups, base support battalions and area support teams on Oct. 1, 1991. In Kaiserslautern’s case, community support was first provided by the 29th ASG, a combined logistics and community support outfit that had been in town since 1980. On March 16, 1992, the 415th BSB was activated in Kaiserslautern to relieve the 29th ASG of its community support function.
On Oct. 1, 2005, all ASGs, BSBs and ASTs in USAREUR were re-designated as USAGs. Eight years later, on Oct. 1, 2013, USAG Kaiserslautern was finally replaced by today’s USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, a direct report garrison under Installation Management Command Europe and an organization similar to the RMP, WACOM, the Palatinate District and the SUPDIST Rheinland-Pfalz. Indeed, an organization of long history and proud tradition.