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United States Army Europe (USAREUR) is an Army Service Component Command of the United States Army. It is responsible for directing US Army operations throughout the United States European Command Area of Responsibility. During the Cold War, HQ USAREUR supervised ground formations primarily focused upon the Warsaw Pact militaries to the east as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) Central Army Group. Since the Revolutions of 1989, USAREUR has greatly reduced its size, dispatched US forces to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and increased security cooperation with other NATO land forces.
On 15 March 1947, HQ USFET was formally redesignated Headquarters, European Command (HQ EUCOM) (not to be confused with the present joint command, "USEUCOM", which was formed on 1 August 1952), and between February and June 1948 the headquarters relocated to Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, where it remained until June 2013. The Army element of the joint European Command headquarters was initially called Headquarters, U.S. Ground and Service Forces, Europe; on 15 November 1947 that designation was changed to Headquarters, United States Army, Europe (USAREUR). On 24 November 1950 EUCOM activated HHC Seventh Army at Stuttgart to take over the command of the ground and service forces from USAREUR, while other USAREUR functions revert to EUCOM. General Eddy became CG of Seventh Army. HQ USAREUR continued to exist, without troops, to fulfilled certain legal requirements in connection with court-martial and other responsibilities. As noted, on 15 November 1947, U.S. Ground and Service Forces, Europe, was renamed Headquarters, United States Army Europe (HQ USAREUR) to accord with the new Department of the Army nomenclature for such commands. USAREUR was a nonoperational organization that provides the ground and service commander with the command functions required for administrative and logistical support. To it were assigned all ground and service units in the command except those assigned to the Office of Military Government, United States; to the Office of the Commander in Chief of European Command; to U.S. Air Forces Europe; to the U.S. Navy, Germany; and to a few exempted War Department agencies. The offices and personnel of the general and special staff divisions of EUCOM headquarters performed USAREUR's general and special staff duties. The principal function of the commanding general of USAREUR became the establishment and maintenance of high standards of discipline. General Huebner also became Commanding General, USAREUR. On 1 August 1952 the previous "European Command", with headquarters remaining in Heidelberg under the temporary command of General Thomas T. Handy was redesignated Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Europe. Also on 1 August 1952, Headquarters, USEUCOM was established in Frankfurt with Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as commander and Gen. Handy as deputy commander (Gen. Handy wore two hats for a while). The Berlin Blockade began 24 June 1948 when the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway and road access to the sectors of Berlin under Allied control. Even though Allied forces in the city were outnumbered 50-1, General Lucius D. Clay, in charge of the US Occupation Zone in Germany, gave the order for the Berlin Airlift. Headquartered out of Wiesbaden Army Airfield, the Allies supplied almost 9,000 tons per day of supplies to the beleaguered city until the blockade was lifted on 12 May 1949. From 1948 to 1950, the Cold War began to warm, and the outbreak of hostilities in Korea heightened East-West tensions in Europe. Seventh Army was reactivated at Stuttgart in late November 1950. The two U.S. Army division sized units in the U.S. Occupation Zone of Germany, the First Infantry Division and the U.S. Constabulary, were assigned to the Seventh Army. Within a few weeks other assignments to Seventh Army included the V and VII Corps. Due to President Truman's 10 December 1950 Declaration of a National Emergency as a result of circumstances in the Korean War (the war began in June 1950), four CONUS based U.S. Army divisions were alerted to move to the U.S. Occupation Zone of Germany (these divisions were known as the augmentation force to the U.S. Army in Europe). A main concern was possible Soviet attempts to "take advantage" due to their numerical superiority in Germany during the Korean War. The first augmentation division to arrive overseas in Germany was the 4th Infantry Division in May 1951, followed by the 2nd Armored Division and the 43rd and 28th Infantry Divisions during summer and fall of 1951. A new joint United States European Command (USEUCOM) was established in Frankfurt, Germany on 1 August 1952. On that day, the Army headquarters at Heidelberg, formerly known as EUCOM, became Headquarters, United States Army, Europe. In 1953, the Korean War Armistice was signed, and tensions began to ease in Europe. About 13,500 soldiers manned each of the USAREUR divisions. New equipment fielded at the time included the M48 tank, the M59 armored personnel carrier, and tactical nuclear weapons. On 15 July 1958 USAREUR forces were ordered to assist the Lebanese government. Task Force 201, the Army component of Operation Blue Bat rapidly deployed more than 8,000 Soldiers from Europe to Beirut by air and sea. As the situation quickly stabilized, all U.S. forces redeployed from the country within 4 months. Although the Korean War, open East-West conflict had ended, political tensions remained high in Europe. Particularly troublesome was the impasse over the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany, the former British, French and U.S. zones of occupation) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany, the former Soviet zone of occupation). East Germany [the DDR] was considered by many countries over the years to be nothing more than the Soviet Zone of Occupation; this changed in 1973 with the UN recognition of both Germanies. Berlin posed an additional problem; it was surrounded by East Germany, but Great Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union all occupied sectors in the city. In the early years, travel between the sectors was unrestricted. At the time Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev announced in June 1961 that the Soviet Union was planning to conclude a peace treaty with the East German government, 3,000 East German refugees flowed daily into Berlin. Suddenly on the night of 12 August 1961, the Soviets closed the border crossing points and began to construct the Berlin Wall, isolating the three western sectors of the city both from East Germany and the Soviet sector, or East Berlin. In response, the United States deployed an additional armored cavalry regiment to Europe, along with additional support units. USAREUR strength reached a post-World War II high of 277,342 in June 1962 as the crisis deepened. That 1946-1991 Cold War maximum USAREUR troop record gradually reduced over time. The command dispatched a reinforced infantry battle group to Berlin to strengthen the existing garrison. The nuclear armed USAREUR did not go to DEFCON 3 during 22 Oct to 20 November 1962 Cuban Crisis due to political reasons. All other US Forces worldwide were at DEFCON 3 per JFK's 22 October speech and direction to the Pentagon; SAC went to DEFCON 2. The crisis cooled in Berlin from 1962 to 1963, and augmenting forces returned to the United States. Equipment modernization programs during this period included the M113 armored personnel carrier, the M14 rifle, the M60 machine gun, the OV-1 fixed wing observation aircraft, the UH-1B Huey helicopter, the M151 truck, and the M60 tank. In late 1963 Operation BIG LIFT tested the use of prepositioned equipment through redeployment of the 2nd Armored Division to Europe via a single airlift. On 1 December 1966, the separate Seventh Army headquarters was eliminated, and HQ USAREUR became Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army. At the same time, France withdrew from the military structure of NATO, and U.S. forces were withdrawn from France. The communications zone headquarters moved from Orleans, France, to Worms, Germany, (and later to Kaiserslautern, where as 21st Theater Support Command it remains today). USEUCOM moved to Stuttgart. M-60A3 near Giessen in West Germany, 1985. The first Redeployment of Forces from Germany took place in 1968, with the removal of about 28,000 military personnel from Germany. The units and personnel withdrawn remained committed to NATO and during REFORGER I – Return of Forces to Germany – conducted in January 1969, more than 12,000 soldiers returned to Germany for an exercise using pre-positioned equipment. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the needs of the war in Vietnam reduced USAREUR's assigned strength, sometimes drastically. As the war began to wane, forces began to return to Europe, and USAREUR adopted a new system based upon the community commander concept. In 1974, efforts to streamline the headquarters resulted in the termination of the U.S. Theater Army Support Command, and its replacement by a smaller organization, the 21st Theater Army Area Command, now known as 21st TSC. In the 1970s, USAREUR continued to improve its firepower when it received the new M16A1 rifle, the TOW anti-tank weapon, the OH-58 observation helicopter, and the AH-1G Cobra helicopter. During the 1970s, force protection concerns grew as Palestinian groups brazenly conducted terror operations in Europe, such as the kidnapping of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics, and the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades targeted U.S. facilities and personnel with bombings, kidnapping and assassinations. In May 1972 bombs exploded at V Corps headquarters in Frankfurt, killing an Army lieutenant colonel, and in Heidelberg at Campbell Barracks, killing three Soldiers. U.S. installations were attacked sporadically throughout the remainder of the decade, including a failed 1977 attack on a U.S. Army post in Giessen. On 15 September 1982, an assassination attempt was made on USAREUR commander Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen and his wife as they were driving through Heidelberg—the automobile trunk lid deflected the RPG-7 anti-tank projectile. In 1985 Army Specialist Edward Pimental was lured out of a Wiesbaden nightclub and killed for his ID card which was then used to enter Rhein-Main Air Base the next day to plant a bomb that killed two. And in 1986 a bombing at a Berlin disco frequented by service members killed two Soldiers. With increased combat and support components in place, the command undertook a wide-ranging modernization in the decade of the 1980s. More than 400 new systems were introduced, including individual weapons, field rations, the M1A1 Abrams tank, the M2 and M3 Bradley series of infantry and cavalry fighting vehicles, the multiple launch rocket system, the Patriot air defense system, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and the AH-64A Apache helicopter. In January 1967, in accordance with Headquarters Department of the Army Msg NR DA796059 dated 9 January 1967, the USAREUR and Seventh Army staffs were merged to become Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army (HHC USAREUR 7A).