USAG Darmstadt is located in the Hessa province from the southwestern part of Germany. It is part of a large city, which is also the capital of the administrative region with the same name. The military base used to host the headquarters of the US Army Garrison. With all these, it has never been a very popular base in the area. It was always operated in the shadows of USAG Heidelberg, a larger and more important facility located only 45 km away. The site includes three camps or kasernes, as the German natives refer to them. All of them are in the southern part of the base and include the CFK – Cambrai Fritsch Kaserne, the KB – Kelley Barracks – and the NHD – Nathan Hale Depot. These days, the base is inactivated since 2008. It no longer has any military purposes, although the military communities that were established there over the years decided to remain in the area and benefit from the same logistical support. Even the military newspaper is still operating. The base was inactivated after all the operations were transferred to USAG Heidelberg. There are still more than 9000 citizens around. Over 3500 of them are military troops, while the others are family members, retired veterans and civilians that used to work on site.
The first years of USAG Darmstadt date to the beginning of the 20-th century. The place was established as Cambrai Fritsch prior to World War II, in 1936. It only included two kasernes responsible with cavalry troops. The base was built to increase the military power of Germany before starting the series of invasions. The American history of the base started in 1945. The Americans first took over the Nathan Hale Depot. The depot was mostly used as a food storage site. Within a year, the entire base was conquered.
The base was never involved in any major activities, whether you count the Korean War, the Cold War or the Vietnam War. Due to its proximity to USAG Heidelberg, it provided primary support to this base only, which was actively involved in various conflicts. In other words, it was indirectly involved. The host unit was the USMCA Darmstadt, which was later renamed to the 233-rd Base Support Battalion.
The base became a US Army Garrison in 2005 only, when it was taken through a few updates and improvements. However, they didn’t help it too much. After celebrating the new status, the officials got the bad news that all the operations will be transferred to USAG Heidelberg, resulting in the inactivation and closure of this base.
Three years later, although USAG Darmstadt is history, the base is still there. The people are still there, as well as their families and the facilities. They decided to remain as a small human community, while many of the military purposes were somehow kept on site. Besides, you never know when a potential conflict will reopen this base one day, especially with the insecure politics going on in the Middle East.