US troop withdrawal in Spangdahlem: Between worry and relief

In the Background of the open Stall, dozens of cows in two rows focus on the Chewing. Prior to that, Michael Billen is. "The Americans will pull off with your

US troop withdrawal in Spangdahlem: Between worry and relief

In the Background of the open Stall, dozens of cows in two rows focus on the Chewing. Prior to that, Michael Billen is. "The Americans will pull off with your combat aircraft - and then they come back." He speaks with a Conviction as if he wanted to say: This can't be so hard to understand?

Michael Billen is part of the courtyard in the picturesque village of were gonna bust Bach in the South Eifel, within the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, just 30 kilometers from the US-airbase Spangdahlem away.

The announcement by US President Donald Trump, troops from the 800 inhabitants deducted the village of Spangdahlem, was taken in the Eifel region, such as a bomb. The stationed F-16 fighter jets are to be relocated to Italy, about half of the nearly 4000 soldiers to pull it off. "A permanent deduction of the hunter is a military strategically nonsensical. This would mean that the United States give up its claim to be a world power," says Michael Billen. He can't see currently, that Washington is pursuing this intention.

In the Background, logs of the animals, according to strong. Apparently, a cow has difficulty in Calving. The farmer interrupts our conversation, rising above the straw, grabs the calf by the hind legs and pulls it out of the womb. This takes two minutes. He washes his hands and asks: "Where were we?"

The U.S. air base is reported to be a factor in the economy

farmer Billen of the German-American relations in the Eifel. As the Host Nation Council Spangdahlem is, for example, a club that strives to be a friendly contact with the American soldiers in the Rhineland-Palatinate. Billen, who is also involved for decades for the CDU in local politics, is the Deputy Chairman. The Americans were now "more open than in the past," describes the district administrator Joachim dispute the relationship. 20 years ago you would hardly make a statement about troop movements or construction work. Now, they would invite the mayors from the Region and informed them about their plans.

at The Interpersonal, Economic comes. Around 800 German civilian employees work on the US Air Base. There is also 2400 tenancies with the Americans, explains Manfred Rodens (CDU), mayor of the municipality of the memory that belongs to the Village of Spangdahlem. "Pull away, we are losing purchasing power," he explains. Under the hood of the staff assigned to the F-16 squadron, suffered not only the landlord but also the local trade and industry. Rodens puts his hope that the Congress in Washington: "The need to decide whether the President's plans are implemented." This was finally also a question of money. He estimated the relocation cost at least a billion dollars.

Many Americans are happy to be in the Eifel

Similar to see it retired U.S. soldiers, who have settled permanently in the Eifel down. They are the only ones who can speak openly about the planned withdrawal. The generals on the military base, the Pentagon has reassigned, apparently, a muzzle, or interview requests, DW and other media remain unanswered.

One who does not want to go back to his home in California, Richard Lant. Together with his wife he lives in a detached house about 15 minute drive from Spangdahlem away. He is concerned that the military airfield in the past few years, had been modernized with a lot of money.

The runway was extended, new Hangars for planes built. "Millions of dollars have also been invested to build a new hospital, a new dental clinic, a new school." The 64-Year-old can not imagine that these facilities would no longer be used after Trumps decision. Washington should pull off in an enduring way, the F-16 squadron, were probably the other aircraft to Spangdahlem, believes the Veteran.

"assumes Some Lant to say, Trump will not have opted for the deduction, because he likes German Chancellor Angela Merkel". Most of the American soldiers is, however, in Germany, and almost every weekend had something going on at the Air Base. He is one of the leisure activities: "sightseeing tours to Brussels or to Paris, skiing in the Alps, watching the Tour de France, when the cyclists race through the neighbouring Luxembourg."

The Region has been a withdrawal of forces

to cope with The Americans loved to be in Germany, says even 82-year-old Major in peace, Thomas Van Dyke. At the weekend, the base was empty. For his enterprising countrymen, he has written a special guide. Germany, he no longer wants to leave with his German wife. And Spangdahlem will remain.

Joachim Streit, district administrator in Bitburg, the County in which the US Air Base is hopes. The Americans would give in the Region of around 100 million euros for services, from Rent, in Restaurants, and in investment. "Construction companies and other companies in the Region to live in, with and by the Americans."

However, Even if the soldiers and their families went all - the "we have already seen, in the 1990s," tells the story of the dispute. And the Region has survived. In 1994, Washington had closed the military base in Bitburg. Regional commercial and service companies have settled on the property. With Success. "In the end we had more jobs than before with the Americans." Also in times of crisis, has proven to be the so-called "Bitburger model". "Small and medium-sized businesses create and retain more jobs than large companies," explains the district administrator.

Sick of the noise and toxic waste

do It is also the Eifel's inhabitants were very pleased about the announcement from Washington. One of them, Günther Schneider - he's hoping for years that the US remove troops. He was dispossessed 20 years ago, the military base could be expanded. His family have lived for 400 years in the area, says the in addition to the acquisition of Bauer, he will not sell. But his farm is around 600 metres from the runway in Spangdahlem away, and the noise of the taking off and landing combat aircraft has made him sick.

the poisoning of the groundwater, the streams and ponds in the vicinity of the Air Base is Added. Responsible, among other things, the fire-extinguishing foam, which contains the so-called perfluorinated surfactants (PFT) is. There are studies that show that this chemical may be a carcinogen. For years, the Americans practiced, like a burning plane had to delete it. The German authorities looked the other way, apparently, and did nothing.

the U.S. Should keep troops in Spangdahlem: Günther Schneider and many of his neighbors would regret it.

author: Miodrag Soric

*The post "US military withdrawal in Spangdahlem: Between worry and relief," is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 11 August 2020, 05:27

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