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Replacement System in Europe
US Army, Europe

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.


7720th EUCOM Repl Depot

307th Repl Depot

21st Repl Bn

Related Links
Air Passenger Centers
(formerly Air Returnee Center)

Baseler Hotel (Frankfurt)
Rhein Main AB
Paris, France

Replacement System, 1945-1963

7720 EUCOM Replacement Depot - Tannenberg Kaserne, Marburg

7720 EUCOM Replacement Depot - The Ordenburg, Sonthofen

307th Replacement Group - Camp Grohn, Bremen

307th Replacement Depot - Turenne Kaserne, Zweibrücken
(Source: The Replacement and Augmentation Systems in Europe (1945-1963), HQ USAREUR, 1964)
Units and Facilities of the Replacement System

a. The Early Years.
On 31 January 1946, the Ground Forces Reinforcement Command, the organization that had been responsible for moving replacements to the forward areas in World War II, was discontinued. During the following months the reinforcement depots that had originally handled incoming troops and their assignment were primarily engaged in redeploying personnel. However, as redeployment neared its end, the ports of Antwerp and Le Havre ceased operations in March and in July (1946), respectively. The closing of these installations left the expanded Bremen Port Command -- renamed the Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation (BPE) in March 1947 -- as the sole staging area for U.S. personnel traveling to and from the U.S.-occupied zone of Germany. Meanwhile, in May 1946 the replacement depots -- former reinforcement depots -- were realigned. The 3d Replacement Depot at Marburg was given control of the staging area at Bremerhaven for outgoing personnel, the 17th at Bamberg (Webmaster Note: also location of Headquarters US Constabulary at the time) was assigned the task of handling incoming personnel, and the 2d at Namur was inactivated.

In the succeeding months the decreasing number of replacements permitted a reduction in the processing facilities. At the end of August the functions of reception, classification, and assignment were centralized at Marburg, and the Bamberg processing area was reduced by one-half and used as a transshipment stop only.

In early 1947 consideration was given to the possible transfer of the 3d Replacement Depot to Bremerhaven, so that all the initial processing, classification, and assignment of outgoing and incoming personnel would take place in one location. By March, however, EUCOM headquarters decided to retain the two installations. In May the 3d Replacement Depot was redesignated the 7720 EUCOM Replacement Depot without change in location or functions.

b. Realignment to Support the First Augmentation.
During December 1951 the 307th Replacement Depot, two replacement battalions, and several replacement companies arrived from the United States. The 307th took the place of the 7720 EUCOM Replacement Depot which was discontinued; one of the two replacement battalions was stationed at Rochefort, France and one of the companies at Frankfurt; and the remaining replacement units, including the 307th, were stationed at Zweibruecken. The Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation and Rhein-Main Airfield continued as the entry ports to Europe.

c. The USAREUR Assignment Team.
Early in May 1953, USAREUR established a liaison detachment at the Overseas Replacement Station, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to expedite the flow of military personnel to Europe. The detachment, consisting of one officer and two enlisted men, was an element of USAREUR headquarters whose primary function was to expedite the movement of critically needed specialists to Europe by issuing high priority transportation orders. In addition, it facilitated the return of personnel from Europe by correcting "administrative discrepancies."

In the same year the detachment was renamed the USAREUR Assignment Team (Provisional) and during 1954 was moved with the Overseas Replacement Station from Camp Kilmer to Fort Dix, New Jersey, without immediate change in functions.

d. Other Changes.
Another organizational change occurred in January 1955, when the 4th Replacement Group replaced the 307th Depot which was returned to the United States. The 21st Replacement Battalion, activated at the same time, was transferred to Frankfurt in May to take care of the increasing flow of replacements landing at Rhein-Main Airbase, a task that had previously been handled by the 261st Replacement Company. However, little more than a year later the introduction of the mechanized enlisted replacement system permitted the reduction of the 4th Group to a headquarters element, which was subsequently transferred to USAREUR headquarters, where it performed replacement distribution duties under the USAREUR Adjutant General Division.

To satisfy the requirements of the new mechanized system, the assignment team at Fort Dix was replaced by the 527th Replacement Company, which had been transferred from Zweibrueeken on 20 April 1956 to perform the enlarged assignment mission under control of USAREUR headquarters. Subsequently, its functions were assumed by a new USAREUR Assignment Team, composed of 5 officers and 26 enlisted men, which continued to operate satisfactorily during the following years.

e. 1962 - 1963 Status.
By the end of 1962 the replacement system included the ith AG Replacement Group at USAREUR headquarters, the USAREUR Assignment Team at Fort Dix, and three replacement battalions -- the 21st at Frankfurt under USAREUR; the 1st at Zweibruecken under Seventh Army; and the 5th, which had replaced the inactivated 3d Battalion in January 1958, at Orleans, France, under USACOMZEUR control. During this period replacements for USAREUR units arrived through the Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation and Rhein-Main Airbase in Frankfurt, or in the case of USACOMZEUR air transported fillers, through Orly Airfield near Paris. USASETAF replacements used the Port of Leghorn or commercial airfields in Italy.

However, in early July 1963, because of a reduction in the FY 1963 troop basis, the 525th and 526th Replacement Companies were iinactivated and twp other units reorganized. First, the 1st AG Replacement Battalion was reduced to cadre strength (1 officer and 18 enlisted men). It had been transferred to Vaihingen on 15 May, where it was attached to SeventhArmy headquarters and placed under the operational control of the Adjutant General. The personnel could thus maintain their technical proficiency in processing replacements so that they could constitute the nucleus for a full-strength battalion in wartime or in support of contingency operations. The 4th AG Replacement Group at Heidelberg was reorganized by reducing its strength approximately 25 percent with no change in its mission.

7720 EUCOM Replacement Depot
(Source: Bill Hodges, 7720th EUCOM Replacement Depot)
The 7720th EUCOM Replacement Depot moved from Marburg, as I recall, in about November 1950, to the Burg Kaserne at Sonthofen and almost immediately began processing (Classification and Assignment) the thousands of troops who began coming into the Theatre after the Korean War broke out (Marburg just did not have the accommodations for these many troops).

We had a cadre of only about 250 personnel. In January or February, to the best of my recollections, the 307th Replacement Battalion (a Reserve group arrived after activation from the New York area, under the command of Col.Oliver J.Troster. Their roster consisted of another couple of hundred personnel. Thereafter, the 7720th ceased to exist and we became the 307th Replacement Battalion.

While we were stationed up on the Burg, we provided full Personnel services to the replacement troops, including QMC (issuance of uniforms and equipment), Railway Transportation, all communications including TO&E data, C & A, counselling when, and if, necessary, T.I. and E., Chaplain services, etc.

There was a Trucking Company stationed at the Beck Kaserne downtown which transported the troops from their Bahnhof arrival up to the Burg, then down again after their 4 or 5 days of briefing. One time a trainload of troops was delivered from Bremerhaven to Sandhofen, up near Mannheim, by accident. There were no train cars available to transport the troops from there to Sonthofen so the Trucking Company and some volunteers convoyed all the way up the then drove them back to the Burg.

We had many German civilians working at the Burg doing Mess Hall duties, Barracks maintenance, Fire Protection, QM Supply, etc.

Sometime in early 1952, the Depot became the HQ for Public Law 50 (I think) Alien Enlistees. These troops (all from behind the Iron Curtain) were housed in a secure section of one of our Barracks. They were schooled in English, took the AGCT Tests, had background checks, when possible, run on them, and oriented in the ways of the US Army before being shipped off to the States for assignment.

I, personally, was rotated in August of 1952. Shortly thereafter the Depot was split in two. From what we heard, half were transferred to Zweibruecken, the other half to Bremen. I don't have any information after that, but I think I do remember that the 307th was de-activated.

For your info, my wife (she, being German) and I go back to Sonthofen just about every year (actually, we stay at Kierwang - just across the valley). But both of us have a great love for the Oberallgaeu. The Burg is in the process of being vacated now by the Bundeswehr and noone seems to know what will happen to it in the future. I must say, in conclusion, that had the Army promised me 20 more years of duty at Sonthofen, I'd have made a career of the military.
Bill Hodges

Burg Kaserne at Sonthofen, 1951 (Webmaster's collection)

Burg Kaserne at Sonthofen, 1950s (German postcard)

Sonthofen train station, 1950s (German postcard)
(Source: Follow up email from Bill Hodges, Feb 2004)
It's great to see the Sonthofen web site is still maintained. Sonthofen still maintains its small town atmosphere even though there are some supermarkets, etc. We were back again in 2003 and, as usual, thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Heimhuber's Photo Shop is still there and it has many very beautiful photos of Sonthofen and its environs for sale. The owner, unfortunately, passed on several years ago.

A matter of some interest to me arose this past year: a book, entitled, "On the Natural History of Destruction", by an Allgaeuer from Wertach (near Sonthofen), W.G.Sebald, who was only one year old when the war ended, came to Sonthofen in 1952 and saw the "ruins" of two aerial bombings that occurred on February 22 and April 29, 1945. I was dismayed by the (what I thought to be) serious misstatements of fact. We were told, in 1950, that only one bomb was jettisoned onto the town and hit the Brewery which, in any part of Germany, was a major catastrophe.

Herr Sebald was killed in an automobile accident recently and can't be questioned about what he saw in Sonthofen, but can any of the Constabulary people confirm or deny his statements. I'd love to hear about it. I contacted the USAAF Archives at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama, but they have no record of such a "raid" on either of those dates, but they said it may have been an RAF happening.
Bill Hodges

(Source: Allen Hall, Sonthofen, 1951)
I was there in 1951. At that time it was a replacement depot and, as I recall, formerly a school. I have a recollection of Sonthofen being a small, rural athough I have hear if it was it is no longer. Are there any photos of the old part of town? In contrast to other parts of Germany at the time I don't recall any war damage in the Sonthofen area. From the photo in the site I can't remember if that was the old "Repple Depple" or not. I remember that there was a dormitory or dining hall or something there called Allen Hall

(Source: Bill Lee, 307th/7720th EUCOM Replacement Depot)
I have read comments about The Burg (Sonthofen) on your website and doubt that I could add much to what has already been said.

I went through basic training at Fort Jackson, SC, went to leadership school but (fortunately) did not graduate (and probably would have gone to Korea) and was shipped to Camp Kilmer, NJ for overseas processing. This was probably in the summer of 1951. I went over on the troop ship General William O. Darby, sick every minute of the about two week voyage to Bremerhaven, Germany. We were there piled on a train (we slept where ever we could) and headed for Sonthofen, unknown to me, of course.

I had just earned a degree from the University of South Carolina (1950) and was luckily assigned to the 307th (later 7720) EUCOM Replacement Depot there. I think this was a reserve unit. I was stationed there until August of 1952 when I was sent back to the States for separation.

While I initially was not too happy about being in the Army (I was drafted); still it was one of the best, most rewarding, enhancing experience of my life then (and now).

At the Ordensburg Kaserne, I was a personnel administrative specialist whose job was to review and update troop files for EUCOM assignments. It was duty most soldiers would envy. First, we slept in the state of the art barracks, had great meals, no KP (civilians did all the housekeeping), although we had a rifle assigned, I never fired one nor did I sleep in a tent during the time I was there. The steam heat and hot showers were accepted/expected luxuries. We had entertainment almost every night in the Service Club, usually local German musicians. We were aware we were in the Army with inspections but these were never as rigid as I had known previously.

Perhaps the best part of the assignment was during the winter months when the snows came to Bavaria. We had no troops to process and life was easy as it was, in fact, most of the time. I lived in Rivers Hall, the second floor of the barracks with a balcony that overlooked the breathtaking beauty of the mountains, any season of the year. It was the longest "vacation" I have ever experienced.

I was promoted to the rank of corporal, made many friends although none that I have kept in contact with since service days. I remember, as an example of how spoiled we were, that in the dining hall for breakfast, the milk (real milk) had cream on the top of the bottle and we would pour it off onto our cereal for breakfast.

One of the "verboten" experiences I remember was the selling of cigarettes on the 'black market' in Sonthofen. Those who did not smoke brought their rationed cartons from the PX, then would simply place them in a handbag, take them downdown to Sonthofen (only a few hundred yards from the Burg) and sell them, usually to merchants there. No one ever questioned this practice. This allowed for the purchase of such German products as Zeiss binoculars, Leica cameras, Rosenthal China, Dresden figurines and Omega watches.

My friends and I used to go down to Sonthofen and dine at the local train station that had a restaurant on the second floor. It was my first taste of a local delicacy, Wiener Schnitzel, something I had never eaten in South Carolina. The potatoes served there were what they called "home fries" but we persuaded the cook to serve what we knew as French fries, something they did not ordinarily list on their menu.

I must add this about the Germans I met. I was there not long after WWII was over but I NEVER had any bad experiences with the German population. I always felt perfectly safe in Sonthofen and I did not hear of any of my friends being intimidated. Maybe this was the exception in the small village like Sonthofen.
Being from the South, snow was somewhat rare for me to experience. But it was there at the kaserne aplenty; its beauty was incomparable. Too, it meant that the troops were not coming in for processing so we had a holiday of sorts when this happened.

Perhaps because it was a reserve unit, the officers were a little more relaxed; we were not on a first name basis of course, but they were less than the spit and polish types.

I remember the "short arm" inspections in the early morning hours.
Other than the vacation like setting, the next best part of my tour was the opportunity to travel, mostly alone, on trains that were unfamiliar to me, the language was indeed foreign and no way really to anticipate where my next night would be spent. I visited in Germany of course, Austria, Belguim, Holland, France, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland and England. Without Uncle Sam footing most of the bill, I doubt that these would have been experiences I could recall. SpeakIng of trains, being in the US Armed Forces, I was allowed to ride first class. One "local" train I recall was more like a trolley. It ran from Sonthofen or nearby to Garmisch where I spent several weekend passes, again living in the first class hotels for a modest fee. Life was indeed good even if my address was a German one.

Some names of friends I recall (we were known mostly by only last names or by rank) were Stein, Hayward, Story, Koontz, Jackson, Owens, Powell, Johnson, Lubkowski ... There were others of course but memory fades after 50+ years.

A friend (Hayward) bought a Mercedes convertible (5 passenger) and one weekend we drove to Geneva, Switzerland. I am sure we were just plain lucky since no one had any foreign driving experience. I remember one of the songs played at a bar there was FAR AWAY PLACES and it surely was.

One post stated that if he could have been promised a permanent Sonthofen assignment, he might have gone for long term enlistment. I would not go that far, but it was a great experience. I never did return to Germany but in my mind, I have made the trip repeatedly.
Auf Wiedersehen
Bill Lee

(Source: Author's collection)

Repo Depot, 1951

1. Barracks building

2. Main part of the kaserne

3. Entrance

4. Dispensary

5. A replacement fresh from the States - next stop: 12th Inf Regt

307th Replacement Depot

Replacement units in Germany (STATION LIST, June 1952)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, March 30, 1952)
The 307th Replacement Depot has recently established its headquarters at Turenne Kaserne in Zweibrücken. The main body of the 307th, including the 1st and 347th Replacement Battalions, moved to Zweibrücken on Jan 2, 1952. On Jan 15, the first group of "casuals" were processed. Headquarters 307th also has an echelon (detachment) at Sonthofen that handles the overflow.

CO of the 307th Repl Depot is Col Henry W. Holt.

Processing of the new troops includes reception, orientation, classification and assignment to posts throughout Europe.

The 5-day operation of processing the new troops is based on speed and efficiency: as the casuals debark from the train (that has brought them from Bremerhaven) , their records are being unloaded from the baggage car and sent to the depot for checking by the Classification and Assignment Section. Once they reach the kaserne, the casuals are placed in the hands of the two replacement battalions.

At the depot, the cycle goes into full-swing as the casuals are issued field equipment, PX cards, ID cards and receive a "flying twenty" ($20.00 in scrip).

During their first day, the replacements receive an hour's orientation on the workings of the depot, including brief speeches by the chaplain and the medical officer.

Personal interviews take up most of the second day as the classification and assignment section takes up the dual task of finding out what job each man is best suited for and assigning him to a EUCOM unit.

The highlight of the five-day cycle is the six hour EUCOM orientation program given by senior cadre of the depot.The program is divided into three two-hour sessions with a question period at the end of each hour. Topics range from the soldier's mission in EUCOM to the intricacies of German trains and streetcars.

Turenne Kaserne is located in the French zone and was formerly occupied by French troops. Since the US Army has taken over the installation, a snack bar, PX, movie theater, beer bar and tailor shop have been constructed and work has begun on eight new buildings that will eventually house all of the casuals.

Turenne Kaserne, Zweibrücken, 1953 (Webmaster's collection)
(Source: Email from Gerard J. Brault)
Greetings from a short-timer US Army veteran (1952-53).

As an enlisted man enroute from Camp Kilmer, NJ, to Germany, I spent Christmas Day 1952 aboard USS General Butner and arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany, a day or so later. Immediately upon arrival, we boarded a train and, after a daylong, very uncomfortable troop train ride, arrived at Zweibrücken.

After completing the USAREUR TI&E program and instruction in military courtesy, I and three other EM received orders dated 28 Dec 52 to be transferred to the 66th CIC Detachment in Stuttgart, Germany. I arrived at the latter destination on 31 Dec 52. After a couple of weeks, I was transferred to CIC Hq ComZ (Orléans, France, then Bordeaux and, finally, La Rochelle). I was very pleased to be stationed in France, where I spent the remainder of my enlistment, as I had volunteered for that assignment.

My transfer from Zweibrücken indicates that, while there, I was temporarily assigned to Hq and Hq Det (Pipeline), 347th Repl Bn, APO 872, but Special Orders Number 317, Par 29 (copy in my possession) providing this information were cut from Hq 307th Replacement Depot, APO 872.

Your very reliable website says that the US Army took over Kreuzberg Kaserne to be used as a replacement depot (later center) in Zweibrücken in 1953 but, as you can see, it was already in operation in late December 1952. The orientation program there was excellent. I also remember going into town with a few EM acquaintances one evening and having sauerbraten and Dinkelacher beer!

Thank you very much for maintaining this very interesting and useful website.

21st Replacement Battalion
1955 - 19..
21st Replacement Battalion DUI
(Source: Headquarters, 1st PERSCOM, 1989)

21st Replacement Battalion was activated on 20 October 1942 at Camp Sutton, North Carolina for services during World War II. Upon completion of forming the unit and training, the Battalion moved through Fort Dix and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey to the New York Port of Embarkation in February 1943. On 8 February the unit sailed for Casablanca, French Morocco arriving 19 February 1943.

Between February 1943 and August 1944, the 21st conducted replacement operations for 5th Army in North Africa and later in Italy.

September 1944 found the 21st Replacement Battalion landing in Southern France in support of the 7th Army. The Allied invasion there was to hold Axis troops from the invasion at Normandy, and to provide the second stroke of a "one-two punch". The Battalion followed the 7th Army's advance through France into Germany in March 1945. In February 1945, the Battalion was redesignated the 21st Reinforcement Battalion, and was so known throughout the remainder of World War II. During the move into Germany, a number of liberated French soldiers and civilians who had been held in Germany were returned to France by the 21st. Over 1600 were transported by the Battalion's trucks.

The end of World War II left the Battalion at Augsburg, Germany. In July, the 21st moved to Belgium, and on 12 September 1945 was disbanded. The Battalion was credited with six campaigns from Italy, through France, and ending in Germany. Interestingly, one of the problems identified by the Battalion is familiar to us today; replacements arriving without service records.

On 18 March 1955 the 21st Replacement Battalion was reactivated at Zweibrucken, Germany, and in May of that year, moved to Frankfurt am Main. This move was due to the number of soldiers arriving at Rhein Main Air Base. The Frankfurt location was judged more beneficial to the Battalion, and replacement soldiers alike. The move was completed in June and full processing started on 1 July 1955. A detachment was located at the Military Air Transport Service (the forerunner of today's Military Airlift Command) terminal at Rhein Main Air Base. This detachment received and arranged arriving soldiers transport to Frankfurt. Thus began an association between 21st Replacement Battalion and Rhein Main Air Base which continues to this day.

The desireablility of being located at the Air Base was identified early on, but circumstances forced the Battalion to occupy a variety of locations in Frankfurt for many years. These ranged from two requisitioned German houses and later Gutleut Kaserne where the Battalion remained for more than a decade. The Kaserne was near the main railway station which eased the movement of troops to their ultimate unit of assignment. As busses replaced trains for movement within Germany, and the costs, and efforts to maintain the eighty year old Kaserne rose, another home for the battalion was deemed necessary.

On 31 December 1976 the 21st moved to temporary quarters on Hansa Allee near what is now called the Abrams Complex. Construction of new permanent facilities on Rhein Main Air Base began in August 1978. The new compound was completed and occupied in July 1980, where 21st Replacement Battalion remains today.

Throughout the history of the Battalion, its mission has fundimentally changed very little. Basically, the 21st processes incoming soldiers for assignment to units of United States Army Europe. It presently is the only Replacement Battalion in the United States Army. The increased use of predetermined "pinpoint" assignments, and automation has reduced the time a soldier normally spends at the battalion to less than a day. Most recently, a sponsorship bus program was begun to reduce processing time to several hours. While the Battalion has been reorganized many times, and placed under various commands over its history, the job of processing newly arrived soldiers as efficiently and expeditiously as possible, remains hallmark of 21st Replacement Battalion.


Main gate at Gutleut Kaserne

Newly arrived in theater, soldiers are in-processed at Gutleut Kaserne, around 1966
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, October 26, 1962)
A new $850,000 building is currently under construction in Frankfurt that will serve as new billets for the 21st Replacement Bn.

Construction began last October and is due for completion next July.

The new six-story building will house up to 600 transient soldiers, a permanent complement of 50, plus a barber shop, pressing shop, snack bar and small PX. It will also contain a basement and sub-basement.

It is located at the southwest corner of Bremer Strasse and Eschersheimer Landstrasse on Frankfurt's northside, four blocks south of the main Frankfurt PX.

When occupied, the new building will permit the return to their owners of two leased buildings, at 63 Cronstettenstrasse and 94 Holzhausenstrasse. The buildings have been occupied by the US Arrny since the end of World War II.

Webmaster note: If the 21st Repl Bn ever moved into the new building is debatable. A history of the Kennedy Kaserne, the name the building acquired sometime after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, was compiled by Fred Gerstner and states that the ASA Communications Unit at the IG Farben Complex (HQ V Corps) started its move into the new building in June 1964. It would appear that the planned move to the new building of the 21st was nixed.

Can anyone provide further clarification?

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, November 24, 1966)
The 21st Replacement Battalion at Gutleut Kaserne has just completed a six-month redecorating program of its mess hall on the kaserne and will hold its official grand opening Thanksgiving Day.

The consolidated mess in the 120-year old Gutleut Kaserne in downtown Frankfurt stands out in contrast to the drab grays and browns of the kaserne buildings.

Inside, the "new" mess hall is decorated in bright blues, whites and yellows, with walnut panelling, and a gold-and-black glass mural.

The spacious dining room is capable of feeding as many as 350 persons at a time. It has a new juke box, comfortable chairs (four to a table) and a number of milk coolers, strategically placed to prevent crowding.

One feature of the mess is the serving line. It is separate from the dining room, eliminating excess heat and kitchen odors.

Capt. Donald F. Stretch is the 21st Repl Bn commandIng officer.

In addition to transients, the mess feeds 500 to 600 permanently attached troops of seven other units.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 23, 1967)
The 21st Replacement Bn, which processes all Army personnel arriving in Europe from the United States, has been authorized a distinctive badge by the Department of the Army.

The badge carries two words which graphically describe the "pipeline" unit's mission — "Strength and Service."

The "strength" applies to the unit's keeping combat and support units manned, and the "service" pertains to the unit's function of receiving, orienting, equipping, messing, billeting, and moving incoming replacements to their units throughout USAREUR.

The battalion, which dates back to Oct. 16, 1942, has kept pace with the ever-changing replacement system. With the trend to air travel, it moved from Brernerhaven to Frankfurt in December 1965, with a detachment remaining in the north German port city to process personnel arriving by ship.

The 21st now operates out of both Rhine-Main Air Base and Gutleut Casern in Frankfurt.

All officers, senior noncommissioned officers, WACs, accompanied personnel and individuals with direct assignments are processed by the Rhine-Main detachments of the 21st.

All unaccompanied E1 through E6 soldiers temporarily assigned to the 21st are processed at Gutleut. Although the 21st can billet 500 men a night and feed 1,000 men, it tries to get each man on his way in less than 24 hours.

Can anyone provide information and/or photos of the exact location of the temporary 21st Replacement barracks after they moved out of Gutleut Kaserne (near the Frankfurt main station), ca 1977, and before they moved into the new facilities at Rhein-Main Air Base in 1980?


Air Passenger Centers
(Source: The Transportation Movement System in USAREUR - 1958, report prepared by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, for the US Army Transportation Research Command, Fort Eustis, VA, 1958)
There are two air passenger centers in USAREUR. The center at Rhein-Main (Frankfurt) is assigned to the CG USAREUR, while the center at Paris is assigned to the 7100 Wing, USAFE.

Each center is staffed jointly by Army and Air Force personnel, and is responsible for port-calling, receiving, processing, and billeting passengers of all services within their area of responsibility who are destined for transportation via MATS, MATS-Contract flights, or commercial air carriers from Rhein-Main and Orly Fields, respectively. 

7705th Air Returnee Center, Baseler Hof Hotel, Frankfurt

The Air Returnee Center at Baseler Hof Hotel near the Frankfurt Hautpbahnhof, 1949

The Air Passenger Center at Baseler Hof Hotel near the Frankfurt Hautpbahnhof, 1950s

The Park Hotel in the Wiesenhüttenstrasse (Webmaster's collection)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 2 1948)
An interim air returnee center is being established in Munich to accommodate an expected increase in numbers of alien war brides, sponsors and their children that will be flying to the US out of Munich-Riem Air Base starting on December 4. The Munich center will open on Dec 3 and be located at the Munich transient billets on Jagdstrasse 8. The augmented movement is under the operational control of the Chief of Transportation and under the jurisdiction of the Munich Military Post.

The Department of the Army recently authorized the additional flights out of Munich when it became apparent that the Rhein-Main flight and Frantfurt billeting facilities were inadequate to handle the increase in space requirements for alien dependents returning to the US.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 7 1948)
The first step for military families with orders to return to the States by air is to report to the 7705th Air Returnee Center at the Baseler Hof Hotel on Wiesenhütten Platz near the Frankfurt main station (Hauptbahnhof).

There they will fill out the necessary forms and their ticket will be typed and filed according to their log-in time. The family then registers for a room at the hotel (which is run by the European Command) where they will stay until they are alerted. Depending on the backlog of passengers, the family might stay at the hotel for two to three days, during which they will be "on call" from 8 am to 5 pm. When their time does come, they will be notified four hours in advance before departure.

The hotel provides cleaning and "while-u-wait" pressing service; daily movies in the briefing room; and religious services on Sunday. The hotel also has a nursery and a registered nurse on duty from 7 am to 11 pm.

When the family arrives at the MATS terminal, they go through a final check and a last roll call. Once boarded, they can expect a 24-hour trip back to the US.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Sept 3 1950)
Air Returnee Center
Article by Howard Kennedy, S&S Staff Writer

The unpretentious exterior of the Baseler Hof Hotel on Frankfurt's Wiessenhütten Platz gives little indication it is the EUCOM center for the shuttle of air-transported personnel on Army business.

Designated the 7705th Air Returnee Center, the hotel houses the joint operations of USAREUR, MATS, and USAFE — one of the smoothest examples of cooperation between the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces in getting personnel quickly back and forth between the U.S. Zone of Germany and the ZI. (Zone of Interior = U.S.)

Activated in February 1947, the center has had a hectic three-and-a-half years in which its operations have ebbed and flowed according to world events.

In ordinary times, between 1,500 and 2,000 persons a month are processed. This figure went to 6,000 in one month late in 1948 when war brides were flown Stateside by service and commercial planes.

Only recently, operations were slightly cut back when MATS announced its transatlantic flights had been greatly curtailed because of other temporary commitments.

In line with this, the EUCOM Air Priority Board at Heidelberg directed that only passengers with emergency leave and those on urgent temporary travel duty will be routed to the center for movement to the U.S.

There is no restriction, however, on the number of new personnel arriving in EUCOM, so those in charge of the Baselerhof are not relaxing their customary routine.

On arrival at the center, new personnel are taken to the orientation room where they are given information on what to expect in Germany, how to obtain PX rations, and the location of movies and clubs.

Dependents of military personnel are sent to the dependent center at Bad Mergentheim to await allotment of billets to their sponsor at the place of his assignment.

Only family-type billets are provided for authorized personnel at the Baselerhof, but exception is made for emergency furloughees. The Four Seasons Hotel, a few blocks from the center, billets single EM and officers.

Meal tickets are issued to EM who take their meals at the 7811th SCU mess, while officers eat at the Carlton Hotel. The dining room at the Baseler Hof, catering to families, is operated by EES.

Every facility is provided for families at the center, including a nursery for young babies, together with an infant diet room where baby food is prepared during their stay at the center. Before departure enough food is prepared to last them across the Atlantic. The building of a playground and sandpit at.the rear of the hotel is contemplated.

First Lt Robert Hazzard is passenger security officer of MATS at the center, and looks after operations with the aid of six enlisted men.

Tied in with MATS operations is the 7012th Personnel Processing Sq (Air Returnee) which deals with Air Force personnel only. A subsidiary of the 7012th is the 7013th Personnel Processing Sq (Air Replacement), responsible for strength accountability of all personnel arriving from the ZI.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, several issues in Dec 1951)
In late 1951, there was a backlog of dependents in the US awaiting transportation to Europe to reunite with their sponsors stationed there. To alleviate the situation somewhat, the Department of Defense contracted with the FLYING TIGERS Airline (a major military charter operator during the Cold War) to fly 600 EUCOM-bound dependents in December and another 600 in January to Rhein-Main Air Base, near Frankfurt, Germany. 1)

The commitment for this pre-Yule air lift was for 10 flights in December 2) and another 10 in January. Each flight (using C54 SKYMASTER transports) would carry 60 wives and children, leaving Idlewild Airport (renamed John F. Kennedy Airport after 1963) in New York City and arriving the next day at Rhein-Main AB. The preferred route for these flights was via the Azores Island but some would be routed via Gander, Newfoundland and Shannon, Ireland due to weather conditions.

Upon arrival at Rhein-Main, Air Force dependents would be separated from the group there. The Army families would go through MATS processing, a customs check, 7705th Air Returnee Center briefing, and conversion of their currency. Then they would be bussed to Frankfurt for a temporary stopover at the Air Returnee Center in the Baseler Hof Hotel where they would be assigned a room in the nearby Park Hotel while awaiting train transportation arrangements to their final destinations.

The FLYING TIGERS aircraft returning to the US to pick up additional dependents would, under an arrangement with the International Refugee Organization (IRO), transport displaced persons who were being resettled in the US. (The DP's would be loaded at Munich and Bremen.)

1) Aircraft from another private carrier, SEABOARD AND WESTERN Airlines, would join the FLYING TIGERS for the January air lift program.
2) Due to bad weather in Germany in December, the FLYING TIGERS were able to only make nine of the ten scheduled flights during the December lift. In addition, due to a 12-day fog blanket over Rhein-Main, several flights had to land at Stuttgart Airport instead of Rhein-Main and one had to land at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 15 1956)
Officials of the Frankfurt Air Passenger Center have reminded members of the Armed Forces processing for air movement that they should report at the Hotel Baseler Hof until 6 pm, Wednesday, May 16.

Effective 6 pm May 16, passengers should report to the new Frankfurt Air Passenger Center at Rhine-Main Air Base.

Bus transportation will be provided from the Frankfurt railroad station to the new hotel. The bus will leave the RTO every hour between 7:26 am and 12:26 the next morning.

Frankfurt Air Passenger Center, Rhein-Main Air Base

The Air Passenger Center at Rhein-Main Air Base (Wayne Paquette)

The recently opened Frankfurt Air Passenger Center, Rhein-Main AB (Webmaster's collection)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, March 25 1955)
The mid-April opening of the new USAREUR-operated Hotel and air passenger center at Rhine-Main Air Base will mean quicker processing and faster getaway for servicemen and their families flying home from Europe.

The center will accommodate dependents, Department of the Army civilians, enlisted and officer members of the WAC and male officers. It also will process persons arriving from the U.S. Single enlisted personnel on emergency leave or TDY status also will be accommodated.

The center is expected to process an average of 20,000 persons a month traveling to and from the command by MATS, USAFE and civil contract planes.

The design of this four-story, 700-bed modern building, costing about $1.3 million, incorporates many practical features. There are 350 rooms — 325 with two beds and 25 with four. Connecting doors permit large families to be cared for adequately.

Facilities for the care of children have been provided. Operation of the center will enable the Army to return downtown Frankfurt property to German owners.

The center will be operated by more than 100 male and female Army and Air Force personnel, under USAREUR Hq. Twenty-five German nationals also will be employed.

Commanding the staff will be Lt Col Edward J. Beck, current CO of the center at its Baseler Hof Hotel location in Frankfurt. The center will operate on a 24-hour basis to maintain the ever increasing flow of personnel traveling by air. In 1954, the Frankfurt center processed an average of 10,000 persons a month. During 1955, it has processed more than 20,000 a month with the high single-month total of 30,000.


Organization of the Frankfurt Air Passenger Center in 1958 (Webmaster's collection)

An information brochure issued to personnel arriving at the
Air Passenger Center in the late 1950s (Webmaster's collection)

Photo pages in the Air Processing Center information brochure
(Click on an image to view a higher resolution)
(Webmaster note - SEP 2019: I will scan and post the entire Information Brochure (above) later this month.)

Paris Air Passenger Center, Paris, France
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, April 9 1955)
In April, USAFE established an air passenger center in Paris.

Previously, there was only one air passenger center serving Europe. Regardless of final destination in Europe, military air passengers would go through the Frankfurt center for processing.

The new Paris center cuts out that trip for personnel who have been assigned to units in France. Frankfurt will continue to service air passenger personnel for the Germany and Austria commands.

At present the Paris center will receive, process, billet, control and arrange air movement for Air Force personnel only.

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