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6970th Civilian Support Center
18th Engineer Brigade

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.

6970th CSC History (1950 - 1995)

8252nd LS Co

8361st LS Co

8550th LS Co

8551st LS Co

8552nd LS Co

8850th LS Co

Related Links

6970th CSC History
1950 - 1995
6970th CSC (Engr Cons) Patch (courtesy Siegbert Mann)
(Source: 130th Engineer Brigade website)
6970th Civilian Support Center (Engineer Construction)

The origin of the 6970th Civ Spt Cen (Engr Const) can be traced to the Berlin Blockade in 1948, when manpower was urgently needed on a round-the-clock basis for the Berlin Airlift operations. For this purpose, in addition to existing non-German Labor Service units, German units were activated in August 1948. After completion of the Airlift mission, these companies were converted to technical units, including Engineer Construction units.

On 10 October 1950 the 6970th Civ Spt Cen (Engr Const) was activated at Eschborn as the 6970th Labor Service (LS) Engineer Construction Center with mission to coordinate and supervise the construction activities of the three subordinate engineer construction companies - the 8550th, the 8551st, and the 8552nd. In March 1951 the 6970th was moved to Rheinland Kaserne at Ettlingen, and was placed under the command of the 39th Engineer Group (Const).

In March 1955 the 6970th LS Engr Const Cen was redesignated as the 6970th LS Engineer Construction Battalion.

Due to the formation of the Bundeswehr, a more civilian designation of German LS units was appropriate. Therefore the 6970th LS Engr Const Bn was redesignated as the 6970th Civilian Labor Group (CLG) (Engr Const) with no organizational changes on 3 May 1957.

On 3 May 1965 three Baltic LS units - the 8252nd, the 8361st and the 8850th LS Engr Const Co joined the 6970th CLG (Engr Const) - At the same time the 6970th CLG (Engr Const) was released from the 39th Engr Gp (Const) and directly attached to the 7th Engr Bde, which was reorganized as the USA Engineer Command, Europe in 1967.

On 1 July 1974, upon discontinuance of USAENGCOMEUR, the 6970th CLG (Engr Const) was assigned to USAREUR Field Activities Operating Element and placed under the operational control of DCSENGR, HQ USAREUR.

On 1 July 1977, the 6970th CLG (Engr Const) was placed under the operational control of the 24th Engr Gp (Const). When the 18th Engr Bde was activated on 21 October 1977, the 6970th CLG (Engr Const) became a part of it.

As of 15 January 1982 all LS units and all CLG's were redesignated to "Civilian Support Groups", Centers respectively. Under the "Wartime Host Nation Support Program", the 6970th Civ Spt Cen (Engr Const) is convertible to Bundeswehr status in time of tension or war.

Effective 15 July 1992 the 6970th Civ Spt Cen (Engr Const) was reassigned to V Corps and the so-called Dickhäuters became a part of the 130th Engineer Brigade.

In 1995, the 6970th Civ Spt Cen (Engr Const) was inactivated at Ettlingen, Germany.
If you have more information on the history or organization of the 6970th CSC, please contact me.

(Source: The Hard Hat, 24th Engineer Group newspaper, June 1977)
6970th CLG joins 24th Group

by Ken Heer

The 6970th Civilian Labor Group was officially attached to the 24th Engineer Group June 2, during a ceremony that was held at Rheinland Kaserne in Ettlingen.

The attachment results from the ODCSENGR implementation of Staff 77 which puts the management of USAREUR troop construction and the operational control of the 6970th CLG on the shoulders of the 24th Group.

The origin of the 6970th Civilian Labor Group (Engineer Construction) can be traced to the first confrontation between the former allies in 1948 when, due to the Berlin Blockade, manpower was urgently needed on a round-the-clock basis for the Berlin Airlift Operation. The first German Civilian Labor Group units were activated in the month of September, 1948.

After completion of the Airlift Mission, these companies were converted in October 1949 to technical units of various branches, including Engineer units. Thus, the 6970th Labor Service Engineer Construction Center with three subordinate companies -- the present 8550th, 8551st, and the 8552nd -- were activated.

In the spring of 1951 the 6970th was moved to Ettlingen, Rheinland Kaserne, and attached to the 39th Engineer Group (Construction). In March 1953, the 6970th was redesignated as Labor Service Engineer Construction Battalion and remained attached to the 39th Engineer Group. The unit was redesignated as Civilian Labor Group (Engineer Construction) on May 5, 1957 with no organizational changes involved.

The 3336th Labor Service Liaison Detachment was organized April 1, 1959 and attached to the 7th Engineer Brigade for coordination of Labor Service/Civilian Labor Group activities within the two US Construction groups (the 24th and 39th).

On May 3, 1965 the 6970th was released from attachment to the 39th Engineer Group and directly attached to the 7th Engineer Brigade. They also had attached the 8252nd, 8361st and 8850th Labor Service Engineer Construction Companies the same day.

In 1967 the 7th Engineer Brigade was reorganized into USA Engineer Command, Europe, retaining the two attached US Groups and the 6970th Civilian Labor Group. The 6970th was assigned to the USAREUR Field Activities Operating Element on July 1, 1974. Operational control was delegated to the Office of the Engineer, HQ USAREUR & 7th Army.

On June 1, 1977 the organization was placed under operational control and attached to the 24th Engineer Group.

Units of the 6970th have been performing construction, rehabilitation and repair projects all over Germany and even at the Wheelus Air Force Base in Lybia. Close to 1600 projects of various nature have been completed, the average annual rate being 100 projects with an in-place construction value of approximately $8-9 million.

Highlights in the construction history of the 6970th are: Longest Project -- rehabilitation of Sullivan Barracks, Mannheim (duration 4 years); "Hottest" -- Brigade 76 at Wiesbaden with the construction of a 2,800-man mess hall in 4 months; Rehabilitation of Border Camps; Rehabilitation of Remote Site Inneringen; Emergency repair of heating plants during the cold season; Construction of HAWK sites; TV-Towers; Ammo sites; Upgrading of Family Housing, etc.

The 24th Engineer Group welcomes the members of the 6970th with open arms and would like to say "Ruessel Hoch."

'Dickhäuters' - Serving USAREUR's Needs, By Toni Adams, April 18, 1986
If you have a job that needs to be done, who do you call? Not the "Ghostbusters." You call the "Dickhaeuters," of course.

That's the nickname of the 1,050 men and women of the 6970th Civilian Support Center, whose headquarters are at Rheinland Kaserne in Ettlingen. "Dickhaeuters" is a species of thick-skinned, long-nosed animals. In the 6970th's case, their symbol is an elephant.

With seven civilian support groups (CSG) falling under it, the unit has been serving USAREUR's specialized construction needs for nearly 36 years since its activation at Eschborn, West Germany.

One year after this activation, the 6970th moved to Ettlingen. The "Dickhaeuters" have fallen under the command of the 18th Engineer Brigade since 1977.

The 6970th's mission is "to produce complete and usable facilities of high quality in a timely manner while practicing sound economic and engineering principles", according to Wolfgang Oeser, chief of engineering and construction. Their specialty work includes heating, sanitary, electrical, carpentry and masonry work; demolition and installation of new partitions, doors, windows and suspended ceilings; roofing, plastering and tile laying, as well as interior and exterior painting.

The unit also operates rock quarries in Grafenwoehr and Wildflecken, providing gravel for local projects there. However, due to cost limitations, Oeser says that rock needed in other areas of Germany is purchased from local German contractors.

To give an idea of the 6970th's important role in USAREUR engineering, the "Dickhaeuters" completed 61 projects in 1985 at a cost of just over $6.7 million. Considering the fact that estimated contractor costs would have been $13.3 million, the 6970th saved the Army nearly $6.6 million. In today's world of "Gramm-Rudman" philosophy, that was a sizeable savings.

Among the 26 communities the unit supported in '85 were Bad Kreuznach, Baumholder, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Grafenwoehr, Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern , Mannheim, Nuernberg, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. In most cases, the community directorate of engineering and housing determines if it needs something constructed, repaired or painted, says Oeser. The DEH then contacts USAREUR through his major command, who sends the "order" to the 18th Eng. Bde. engineering section. The 18th then decides whether the 6970th or a battalion will do the work.
  Once the 6970th receives the job order, Oeser, with the advice of his subordinates, decides which CSG will work the project. "Although we try to consider geographical location when we assign the tasks," says Oeser, "it is not always possible to assign projects to the area CSG."

The 6970th's CSGs are scattered around southern Germany. The headquarters and service unit, and the 8552nd CSG is located in Ettlingen. Other CSGs are located in Stuttgart (8550th CSG), Grafenwoehr (8551st CSG), Mannheim (8252nd CSG), Bad Kreuznach (8361st CSG) and Kaiserslautern (8850th CSG). The unit also operates the 3336th liaison detachment at Smiley Barracks in Karlsruhe.

The projects the 6970th has completed in the past include the community headquarters buildings in Grafenwoehr, Bindlach and Darmstadt, the two-year co-location of headquarters projects at Heidelberg - when USAREUR and CENTAG moved together; work on a dining facility and billets in Wiesbaden; family housing renovations in Bad Kreuznach; a complete renovation of Sullivan Barracks in Mannheim; maintenance facilities at Karlsruhe, Frankfurt and Stuttgart; and the three-year range upgrade project in Grafenwochr.

The range upgrade projects were special, says Oeser, in that the 6970th worked alongside 18th Engineer Brigade troops. After the 18th erected prefabricated buildings, the 6970th installed heating and electrical systems, and air locks. They also worked on control towers, tank parks and battle positions.

Most of the work done was designed by the 6970th, according to Karl Kirsch, deputy chief of engineering and construction, and chief of design. "Sixty-five percent of all troop construction projects done in USAREUR are designed by us," says Kirsch. "We have been preparing plans and specifications since 1970." Of 51 projects the 6970th designed last year, the Army saw an estimated savings of over $300,000.

Even though the "Dickhaeuters" are designed for peacetime construction work, they also have to provide support in case of emergencies or war. In time of war, says Oeser, the 6970th along with a number of other CSG units become German Bundeswehr units.

With the '86 construction season in full swing, the "Dickhaeuters" from the 6970th Civilian Support Center will be doing what they do best -supporting USAREUR and the 18th Engineer Brigade with their specialty work. As they work they will keep their motto in mind - "Ruessel Hoch." Translated it means trunk up-be proud of what we do, and always be optimistic.


May-June 1987 edition , 6970 CSC (Engr Const) newspaper

Related Links:
Labor Service / Civilian Support -
the only inofficial homepage of the Labor Service, the Civilian Support Organization of USAREUR, the Industrial Police (IP) and the USAFE Civilian Service Units worldwide.
130th Engineer Brigade - Superbly prepared official website of the Brigade which still serves in Germany.