History, Memoirs.

You can’t go home again . . . to Husterhoeh Kaserne

-Saved from usarmygermany.com, Richard Tracy

The old headquarters building for my unit, 2/56 HHB. Note the twin Nike missiles.. Attrib: Richard Tracy, Saved from usarmygermany.com.


Recently I became curious about my old neighborhood in Pirmasens, Germany, where I was stationed as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the mid-70’s. Through the magic of Google Earth and the Internet, I explored the place I once lived, now thirty five years hence.

Thomas Wolfe’s famous suggestion, “You can’t go home again” covers a large amount of territory; your home is not the only thing to which you cannot return to with any but perfect verisimilitude. Much is lost on the return journey to visit places of your early past: Those monuments to a youthful sense of permanence, buildings, are decrepit or re-purposed, or just plain gone; the places are sometimes smaller or more ordinary than expected; rarely is something completely unchanged from your old memories of it. Even so, the journey often reveals unexpected perspectives, if not just about the places, but about yourself.  


Pirmasens coat-of-arms. PD.


Pirmasens. The city still looked, from the satellite photos, much the same. As would be expected, the typical city institutions like the Rathaus on the the main town square, hadn’t moved, the brewery, the Parkbrauerei, was still pumping out Bier, and the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, that magical place from whence I traveled to and from many places, looked no different from above. On the other hand, the U.S. Army base, the Husterhoeh Kaserne, situated on the northern edge of this small town where I had lived and worked for two years, looked abandoned.

-Saved from usarmygermany.com, US Military Installation Atlas, 37th Trans Gp, 1980

Map of Husterhoeh Kaserne ~1980. Click for large detailed map.. Attrib: US Military Installation Atlas, 37th Trans Gp, 1980, Saved from usarmygermany.com.


Husterhöh Kaserne. What had happened to the Husterhöh Kaserne in the intervening years? The Kaserne (German for army barracks) had been appropriated by the U.S. Army from the German army at the end of World War II, the Nazi war eagles carved on the top reaches of some of the buildings being immediately destroyed, and then used for varying purposes, much of it storage, as underlying the Kaserne is a network of underground storage facilities and tunnels that made up part of the German Siegfried line. In 1994, some 40 years later, the U.S. Army de-activated the Kaserne and turned it over to the German Army. A few of the buildings are still in use by the German Army, and the U.S. Army still stores medical equipment there. The large administration buildings and troop barracks are mostly abandoned, but many of the working and storage buildings have been accommodated by local businesses, including the old headquarters building of my unit. Many of the barracks buildings, where we lived and slept, appear to be currently abandoned (see notes at bottom).

-Saved from usarmygermany.com, Stadt Pirmasens

Development plan for Husterhöhe May 2000. Click for larger image.. Attrib: Stadt Pirmasens, Saved from usarmygermany.com.


Plans for Pirmasens after the military. In 1998, the city of Pirmasens was given much of the Husterhöh land to re-develop, and they put together a regional development plan which included the creation of a large park and the construction of a larger soccer stadium to replace the nearby Horeb Stadion, where the local professional football club Fussball Klub (FK) Pirmasens played during the years I was stationed there.

The old soccer stadium: FK Pirmasens v. Bayern München. Ted Withycombe and I attended a DFB-Pokal match early in 1976 at the old Horeb; it was a small stadium with no seating, and had only one area to shelter fans from the weather. The game was a big event, as FK Pirmasens competes in the lower professional divisions, and in this Pokal match, the DFB-Pokal being a knockout tournament which includes both the top Bundesliga teams and many lower division teams for an all-German contest, they were pitted against the mighty Bayern-München! And not just any old Bayern team; this team had the nucleus of the 1974 World Cup championship team: Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Mueller, who were the center half, goalie, and striker, respectively for that team, and Beckenbauer alone is still regarded as one of the finest center halfs to ever play the game. There were three others from the 1974 World Cup team playing for Bayern: Uli Hoeness, Jupp Kappelmann, and Georg Scharzenbeck, and the future great Karl-Heinz Rummenigge played, also. Ted and I arrived about 90 minutes early, as there were no reserved places, and all was standing room; we managed to get places on the midline!, standing under the only available shelter. With about 15 minutes until the match start, and the stadium now pretty well filled, about one hundred Bayern fans came in with flags and flagons, many of them quite drunk, and proceeded to push everyone out of the midline spots we had patiently occupied. I said a few choice words in German to some of the Bayern fans, and one of them responded, quite amicably, that I would do well to just settle on being 5 meters off of the midline, where we had been pushed, and shut up, or I could easily get hurt. I smiled back and accepted his advice. The game was played with an inch of snow on the field! but there were almost no slips; despite the conditions, the quality of the game was high. I remembered the score being 2-1 in favor of Bayern at match end, but it turns out it was 2-0 in their favor; my memory was more favorable towards the home team than history records.

-FK Pirmasens,

The new Städtisches Stadion Husterhöhe. FK Pirmasens.


New soccer stadium. Pirmasens built their new soccer stadium in 2003, the Städtisches Stadion Husterhöhe, or the Huster Heights City Stadium, situating it atop the old motor pool, across Virginia Avenue from the old athletic field behind the troop barracks where I had spent many an afternoon playing softball, football and soccer. As for the soccer team, FK Pirmasens, it now costs between 3 and 11 Euros to see a game, which is pretty affordable. The old Horeb stadium appears to have been demolished – there are businesses operating on the site today.

2/56 ADA, my old unit. And what had happened to my old unit, the 2nd battalion of the 56th Air Defense Artillery regiment? At the time I served, this battalion fielded four active missile batteries deployed on lonely hilltops in the Rheinland Pfalz surrounding Pirmasens; it was part of the 32nd AADCOM, which was the umbrella organization for air defense in Europe. It was moved to Fort Bliss, TX, in in the 1980’s, and formed a training regiment for Air Defense Artillery, as the air defense missile system we supported, the Nike Hercules ground to air missile system, was being gradually phased out and replaced with more modern equipment. The Nike Hercules system was designed for high altitude air defense following World War II, and by the mid-70’s, was showing its age. The entire deployment of Nike missile sites around the world were phased out over perhaps twenty years, starting in 1973; that is, unbeknownst to me at the time, the retirement of the Nike systems started around the time I was trained to support them!

-Stadt Pirmasens,

Battalion HQ becomes entrepreneurial incubator. Stadt Pirmasens.


New life. Perhaps even more interesting, the old headquarters building for my unit, building 4619 on Delaware Avenue, was converted into a start-up company incubator environment for female entrepreneurs. Established in 2001, and entitled griPS, it provides subsidized office space and business services for start up companies, much like you might find in the Silicon Valley, or even in Portland, Oregon, where the Portland Development Commission operates such a facility. The exterior of the building no longer sports missiles, rather a new 21st century glass-encased extension on one end of the building.

All in all, it was sad to see some of what was once familiar decayed or gone, but on balance, it was much more heartening to see the new uses that these buildings and spaces have taken on, particularly sports parks and stadiums and young businesses replacing the artifacts of war. Returning home doesn’t seem entirely possible, but renewing and even rearranging memories is a bracing mental exercise.

US Army Germany website. This website has a nice collection of historical pictures of the Husterhöh Kaserne and surrounding US military installations.

Other Notes. Building 4176, Massachusetts Avenue, 20, where I worked as part of the the Direct Support Platoon of the Headquarters Battery, 2/56 ADA, was right across the road from the old heliport, itself which was . . . demolished! The two barracks buildings where I slept were buildings 4408, on North Carolina Ave, and 4609 at the intersection of Delaware and New Hampshire Avenues. Both barracks buildings are still standing, and appear to be abandoned.

On Google Earth, there are several maps of Pirmasens. The most recent is October of 2010, which shows most of the current changes. By switching between the 2000 map and the latest one can see a before and after picture.

Fresh views. Here is a You Tube video shot in Pirmasens in 2010, a tour of the Husterhöhe.

136 thoughts on “You can’t go home again . . . to Husterhoeh Kaserne

  1. Hello all! I’m Art Pels. I was in STRATCOM from 1967-1970. I’m amazed by how much y’all remember from way back then . . . It’s all such a blur for me. (I was 20 in 1970.) If anybody knew me from those days, please say “Hi”.

    • Art.. Hi! I remember U and Terry Kreachbaum, Danny Graff and a few others although after all these years it’s difficult to remember the names. I was there for my last year in the service 8/69-8/70, do u remember me? I made a trip thru Germany back in the summer of 02 and was able to locate the old barracks but they seem to be gone now..I still have the Framus guitar I bought at the exchange back in 69-70… I have a youtube page:
      you might like to check it out…. Terry was a guitar player, can’t remember if you played as well… have u been in touch with Terry? What a trip finding u on this site… no one’s getting younger… stay healthy and well!

    • Hey, Art. Steve Carter here. Worked with AUTODIN, DSTE from 1969 to December 1971. I still have fond memories of Pirmasens.

  2. I am very glad you were pleased with your childhood there. Nice little town to spend early years in. Sorry about losing yourMom though. That put a dent in it I am certain, Good to hear from Pirmasen’s denizens

  3. My daughter is taking German this year in high school. It has opened up my past. My mother was German and married an American soldier. We were stationed in Pirmasens from ’71 – ’77. I went K – 5th grade there. My mother actually passed away while there. She worked at American Express next to the PX. My father was Erwin Bono and all I know was he was Ordnance. Some of the best memories I have are living on base. We lived in the complex right next to the PX and commissary. I also played basketball for the DYA. I saw this article and had to share.

    • Hello , my name is Alan Delphia and I was stationed there in the year of 1972. I remember well the pix and the commissary and the living quarters complex next to. It was a great place and very fond memories. My son was born there at landstule. Nice to see some one remembers the same place !!

  4. My name is Mike Pioso and I was stationed with the 59th Ord Grp (AWSCOM) from 1969-1971 one floor below the PAL Detachment. I dealt with Hawk, Pershing and Nike-Herc maintenance missile and class V sub units. I lived just across the street from the Officer’s Club and disrupted their PA system routinely with my Ham Radio. My wife worked at the PX. I was also stationed in Miesau in the 4th Ord Co.. as the Supply Officer and XO prior to Pirmasens. Drinking Parkbrau ruined forever common American beer for me. I hope you all enjoyed your tour there as much as my wife and I did. Cheers!.

    • My name is Danny Stanley ,I was stationed in Pirmasens in 1971-72 with Dale Wagoner and his wife Susie. They had an apartment in Muechweiller. I loved listening to the records in the sound proof booth at the base library.

  5. Hey David, Just got a e-mail from scribber.com apparently they have signed me up for more e-mails which is great.Thanks for all the help! Please keep in touch. Andy

  6. I was stationed at HHQ btry of the 2/56th Air defense unit (Night Hides Not) from Nov 1969 thru Mar 1971. We had four field Batteries and I visited all of them at one time or another in my assignment of a Personnel Specialist. Well remember when one of the Hercs, I believe was in C Battery, went “Hot”! Man was everybody scrambling that day! Worked with M. Aleksick, J. Burrows, R. Oshiro, D.Barber, D. Newton (deceased), and others. Wouyld like to hear from them.

    • I was an mp in C battery 2/56 in 1969. Came back from Nam and the Army decided to send me to the armpit of, the world for my last 10 months.
      Lived with my new wife in Hinterweidenthal, 3 on and one off. My only reprieve was my audiovisual talent as I used to show the 16mm movies “down the hill “.


  8. I was with the 546th Maint.Company from July 76 thru July 79. I worked in the Armament Repair Shop.. I really loved being stationed here. Are there any other members like Michael Clairemont still out there.

  9. I was there from 1983 to 1984, 5th Combat Equipment Co. Best time of my life. I think of it often. Am still in touch with friends I made there. It really did seem like a special place. I too have a Parkbrau Liter Mug on my mantle right now. Met some great German girls there.

  10. Thank you so much for the article. I grew up in Pirmasens. 1980-1993. It is my home and I intend to take my kids there some day.

    • Hi Devron, this is Matt Noe. I was browsing through these comments and noticed a famaliar name. I was stationed there working with the Hq detachment Military Police from 88-93, and if it’s the same Sternke, I worked with your Dad on occasion. Hope all is well!

  11. I was in pirmasens from 77 to 81. Loved it. Was the tower chief at the airfield. 22nd avn was the host avn unit. Married a hot crew chief from 22nd. Only female crew chief at time. Had many friends in 546 maintain, 2/56ada. Anyone remember Dave Matteson or Kym or Margie from airfield???

    • Was in the 546 maintenance as well. Had a bad right leg and a cane until the 3rd surgery to fix me. Was there from 79 to 83. Missed the curry wurst and Pom fritz the hot spicy wine shopping in the town square every other day for food.

  12. Dad (CMSgt Elmer Sutton) was stationed at nearby Zweibrucken AFB from Dec ’72 – Jun ’76. and ran either the FMS or OMS units of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing – RF-4C’s were stationed their then. I went to the American High School on base and used to visit friends that lived in Pirmasens.

    Does anyone remember the skeet, trap & rifle range that was around this area? Us Americans would use it on Saturdays and the German would use it on Sundays. A MSGst that worked for my dad ran it, but I believe it was owned by the US Army.

    I have not been back since I left, but hope to soon. I don’t know if I would recognize much of anything, especially around the bases.

  13. I was stationed in Pirm on 1988 to 1990.
    Went to basic training at Fort Bliss 1988 with Charlie Company 2/56 ADA. Guess I got to see both sides of the umit relocation.


  14. I was there from Nov ’79 through Dec ’81 with the 267th Signal Company. I was assigned to the TCC. Life after the army was very different for me. I heeded the call from God and became a corrections officer. I am now retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

  15. I was in the USA PAL Detachment at Pirmasens fall-’68 to summer ’70 and lived in the BOQs adjacent to the Officer’s Club.

    Met my future wife there, who was a teacher working at the USAF Base in Zweibrucken.

    I visited once in the ’90s and the BOQs had been totally renovated but were standing empty; actually got to go into my old rooms.

    Hope to see the area again sometime soon.

    jack vines

    • Jack,
      My father served with you in the PAL Detachment, MSG Edward Dike. I was 12 years old back then, but I recall meeting you and other young officers in the Detachment. If I recall correctly, I believe it was you visited my family back in the states, Minnesota in the early 70’s? My Dad enjoyed his PAL Detachment assignment, and often referred to it as one of his best in his 30+ year Army carrier. My Dad passed away a few years ago, at the age of 92; we miss him be the memories live on.
      Best Regards,
      Jim Dike
      Woodbury, MN

      • Greetings, Jim,

        Yes, I remember Sgt Dike and my brief visit to your home in MN.in 1971.

        Like your father, the PAL Detachment was the best the US Army had to offer. I volunteered to stay there for twenty as an 2ndLT, but the Army thought I needed to be in VietNam, so I went to Fort Sheridan in Panama for Jungle Warfare Training, then a couple of schools in Nam then a Mobile Advisory Training.

        FWIW, my wife and I hope to visit Pirmasens this fall.

        Again, thanks for the memories.

        jack vines.

      • Jack
        Just came across your posting and it brought back faint memories of long ago. I was stationed in Pirmasens from 1968 to 1970, with the 45th Finance Section. I was friends with a couple of guys attached to your unit. One was named Frank – he was from Chicago. The other was a kid whom we called “Hock” – I believe this was an abbreviated version of his last name. Do you recall them? I have pictures of them, but couldn’t remember their complete names.
        Mesa, Arizona

      • Hi, Bill,

        Good to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and yours.

        My wife and I visited Pirmasens this spring and the office building is still there, but most of the quarters and clubs are gone. Whatever grand hopes they had for 21st century business development wasn’t happening.

        FWIW, Munchweiler has become a thriving bedroom subdivision and very few traces of the Army remain.

        jack vines

  16. 1978 to 1980 165th Signal Motor Pool. Most of my memories are good. Played lots of softball and bowling. I operated the 5 ton Wrecker. Anyone know me or like to talk i’m on facebook. Ray Heffley. Be glad to chat ON FACEBOOK

    • What majcom or BN did the 165th fall under. I do not recall and signal companies other than the 267th and 270th while I was there Jan 74 – Nov 79.

      • Hello Michael Wilkerson. The 165th Signal Co. was attached to the 59th Ordnance Brigade. Our Motorpool was shared by the 22nd Aviation. We would help remove and install rotor blades for Avn. We had signal equipment trucks. You would see our Motor Pool on top of the hill to the left as you enter the gate. Our Barracks building was directly in front of the Mess Hall. You can google 165th Signal Pirmasens. I believe they were gone by 1985. I was there 1978-1980. The Company went to war a group made up of Hollywood camera men. Much of WWII film was from this company in its origin. Thanks. Hope your well.

  17. Served with trash er I mean Stratcom in the early ’70’s. Work in building 4646 while we were replacing an ancient smoke signal type facility with at real communications site.
    Many, many good times including the infamous Scooter Pie bust on the football field.
    Some not so good times too but they all seem good to me now.

  18. I was with the 541st Signal Company (SPT) under AWSCOM 1962-1964 there in Pirmasens. Did some TDY in Massweiler with the 529th Ord Co. early 1962. Anyone there at the same time, please respond. TKS —

  19. My father is Joe McPeak and we lived there 1971-73 I went to 4th and 5th grade there, such good memories I have of living in Germany.

  20. I was with the 447th Signal Battalion from September, 1960 thru October, 1962, finance clerk, in Battalion personnel (Hq Detachment) Would like to hear from anyone from the 447th, during that time.
    My name is Herbert Baker

    • Hi Herbrert Baker this is Andy fr0m the 447 Sig Batt. I was there the same time as you,60-63 in Hqrs Det. in Pirmasens. I was the Cols driver. Your boss was Marion Voss if I remember right. Would like to hear from you!! Andy.

      • my name is al van scooter i served in b company i was a platoon sgt. don’t remember which platoon. worked with spirial 4 cable. went tdy to berlin several times. also. tdy to saran france and amballa. india. served in germany from 1961 to 1964. left and went fort benning, .still remember pirmasens.

  21. I was there assigned to HQ of the 2/56 during the end of 70 – 71, Was in re-enlistment for Sargent First Class Laudermilk and Staff Sargent Priddle. I visited all batteries, Went to the 94th ADDCOM with General Roberts. I also played and coach basketball while I was there. The Col. Walsh (Gray Ghost was what he liked to be called) was a total ass.

  22. We were stationed in Pirmasens (73-77) SSG Alasdair Cole and Monte. Al was a Race Relations instructor. I worked at the Officers Club. Looking for anyone who might have lived in Building 4507. Also, does anyone remember Sgt Dave Cherry and Dana. We lost Dana this year and Dave is very sick.

  23. Thanks so much for posting this. I was a chaplain’s asst at the chapel on Husterhöh from 78-80. So many great memories of that place. Haven’t had a chance to return but have plans for this fall. Just want to walk around and remember. I have been looking for a friend who was there when i was, her name was Donna Ross. I think i remember that she was with the MI branch. thanks again for this article and the pics.

  24. I was with the 270th Signal Company. We provided O&M for the Autodin switch down past the med depot just before the antenna farm, Our barracks was in between the banana building and 2nd MI barracks. I was there from 74 – 79. Great times there.

    • Our dad, SFC Milton Saul, was there 78-80. We were in Muenchweiller for a time, then Bunker Hill, just down from the commissary. Miss our Pirmasens days. Not much has survived the intervening years, in terms of our photos and mementos from Pirm… Sad to see the conditions of some of the buildings, now but glad to see some of the repurposing that has been done, as well!

  25. Enjoyed your post. I was the club officer in Pirmasens from 1969-1972. I was responsible for the officers’ club (POCOM) and the NCO Frontier club. I vacationed in Pirmasens in 2005 and found the officers club abandoned and boarded up. The Frontier Club was a motorcycle repair shop and the chapel was a disco. My trip brought back many fond memories.

    • Randall,

      I was stationed in Pirmasens in 1970 and part of 71 with Major Fred T. Miller, CO of the 22d Avn Co. and SFC :”BIg Sam” Scandral, who had his special mug behind the bar and would pour two Heinekins in his mug at one time with one hand. You can’t help but remember Sam – I once saw him lift a soldier off the floor by grabbing his head like a soft ball and lifting him with one arm sterchted outright. Sam and I were with Hqs AWSCOM trans section.

      Ray Bows, US Army ret..

  26. Loved this article. I was stationed at the DSP from 1973 through 1977 as a Nike Radar and Computer Repairman (as I believe you were as well, Tom). Drove out to all of the battery’s.
    I returned for a visit in 1984, and all of the sites, as well as most of the kaserne, was closed.
    A bunch of us vets have restored a Nike site in Golden Gate National Park and lead tours on Saturdays. It is great fun and the visitors are amazed.
    Thanks for the memories.

    • Rod, if I remember correctly, you were a 23N40, the best job of our group – actually working onsite and fixing the radars and the other electronic equipment. I have read of the restored site at the North end of the Golden Gate bridge. I live in SoCal, and occasionally find my way to the Bay Area. Next time I am up, I will make an effort to get over there and see it. Thanks for responding.

      • Tom, you are correct. I enjoyed going to the sites, although not in the middle of the night, or for days at a time. :).

        If you come up (and I hope you do), try to make it on the first Saturday of the month. On that day we have a ‘open house’ style day, and all of the Nike Vets try to be there. One of the vets is a warhead specialist and was stationed in Fischbach during the same period that we were there. I am usually there the 1st and 2nd Saturday of the month. Take care.

    • Hi Randall,

      I worked in the Frontier Club as a waiter during the fall of 1963 until April the next year and made some very good friends.. I was a tall blond guy known as Carlson. Barbara worked behind the bar and Franco (who i later met by accident in Perth Australia) was the head waiter. Ring any bells? Cheers, Grant

    • Hello , I was also working at 2/56 Ada DSP building and in their computer van with sgt. Roy Prunk and sgt. Larry Pruitt. In 1972. Lt. John hostettler was OIC of our unit. I played lots of softball and the movies, bowling alley and the gym while there. Also served there with good friend sp4 Raul Vasquez. Would love to here from you or any of the guys from DSP.

  27. I was there at 2/56 from summer of 68- 69 worked at NCO Club, and Motor pool. Loved it Married a girl from there we go back ever so often Your story is so true. Thank you so much for your thoughts and putting them in words. SP5 Mock

  28. “Memories, like the corners of my mind…” I was stationed with the 546th Maintenance Co. from 1979 to 1980 before being transfered down to Smiley Barracks in Karlsruhe. Our barracks were in the Banana building. Some of my fondest, youthful memories were from that place and time. I still have dreams about the place. I am planning a pilgrimage back sometime in the near future. Anyone else serve with the 546th?

    • My ex husband was attached to the 546th Maint. Co. from 1985-1988.
      I worked at the commisary and also at the Kathe Wolfhardt Christmas Market.
      I also worked in Swuibruecken (not sure I spelled this right) at the Christmas Market there and also the Commisary. Our daughter was born in Landsthul. So many wonderful memories and friends came from that place! My ex-husbands name is Brian Troxell. Anyone remember him?

    • Hi Cynthia, I was with the 546th Maintenance from 1976- 1981 and remember the many hours we spent with Reforgers activities. Lots of work but many great times too. latter in 1983 – 1988 I was in the 5th CEC until I went to Landstuhl where I stayed until retirement. Greetttings form Spain.

      • Hello Pablo,
        Thanks for the response to my post. I do remember the reforgers. I remember going up to Paderborn to provide support to a German tank division (if I am remembering correctly). At any rate, I still have the beer stein from Paderborn as well as a few from the Parkbrau brewery. Truly some of the best times of my life were had in Pirmasens and in Germany as a whole. After Karlsruhe, I took a European out and was working as a GS05 with the 7th Sig Br in Mannheim until my return to the states in 1983. I now live in Anchorage, Alaska. Thanks again Pablo and hope this finds you well.

  29. I was stationed there from 1962 to 1964. I was a member of the 447th Signal Battalion (Cable Construction). The Army disbanded the battalion during my tour there into two Signal Companies. I was assigned to the 229th Signal Company for the remainder of my tour. I rotated back to the USA and finished my hitch at Ft. Riley with the First Infantry Division. I remember the Texas Bar across the street from the gate nearest our barracks as well as The Turmshank .sic just down the street. As an 18 year old kid away from home the first time, it was quite an adventure. Parkbrau beer was the local brew. I married a fraulein and our daughter was born at Muenchweiler Army Hospital.

    • Henry, I drank Parkbrau beer too! I even have a Parkbrau liter mug now. We used to go downtown and eat at the restaurant run by the brewery. Good memories. In those days, the dollar brought 4 marks 25 pfennigs. I bought a new VW for 1200 dollars! Try it now!

  30. Great article! Tony Hallman and I were there at the same time. I was in 7774 Sig Svc Bn, billeted in the building next to the “banana” building. I still remember when the Engineers got their orders to go to Lebanon. Not knowing if they would be returning, most of the soldiers were selling their personal possessions out on the company street.
    It is one of the highlights of my day to find this website and to relive those days if just for a while.

  31. My husband Curt Bauer Spc 5 was stationed in Pirmasens Army Depot at KARPAC personnel office above Dew Drop Inn from ’73-“74. In MOS testing section.
    K Bauer

  32. Great article! Learned alot about a place that was my home from 1958-1960 when I was attached to the 79th Engineer Battalion in what I read now is called the “banana” bldg. Our unit was one of the larger one’s on post in those days and we were quite active. Went to the rebel uprising in Beirut, Lebanon in summer of ’58. TDY to Nancy France in ’59 to build roads and various motor pool facilities. In 1960 went to Northern Germany for more building jobs. In between these jobs we were active building in Massweiler, Karlsrhue and Heidleberg. Best part of tour were trips to Barcelona, Copenhagen and Paris on leave. Also spent most of my meager pay, about $80. month on my bar bill in nearby Fehrbach. Would like someone to tell me why the name of our Kaserne was changed from D’Isley to Husterhoeh after my departure. Again, really like your site!

    • I Worked for the Facili engineer in Pirmasensfrom 1951 to 1990 and was responsuble for the maintenance and repair of all the Buildings ans Streúctutrs in Pirmasens Post.. The reason wy the Nome of teh Casern was changed to Husterhöhkaserne . The Former nome was given by the French after 1945. The former Germen Nom was Husterhöhkaserne an the French Name has ben changed to the original german Name has ben Made on a rquest off the Mair of Pirmasens.

  33. I was stationed there from 81-83, HHB 2/56 ADA. Our barracks was named the banana building. In the winter, it was cold walking to the DSP in the winter. Met a lot of good people and still keep in touch with them. Would love to locate Sgt Daniel Prohaska.

    Brenda Taylor Torres

  34. hello me from pirmasens my dad was in the army his name is kenneth caroll some one remember him?search for him never seen him wanna now what happen with him! sorry for my bad englisch! mom tells me that he was an”grizzlymonkey”@the 504.my name is sven renneis

    • hello if anyone can help me that I, my father can finally get to know the times or with what had happened then he can write me please email svenrenneis@gmx.de.
      I thank you now to talk with friendly greet sven
      writen with google:-)think that isnt better then meins

      hello if anyone can help me that I, my father can finally get to know the times or with what had happened then he can write me please email svenrenneis@gmx.de.
      I thank you now to talk with friendly greet sven

    • Likely Kenneth was a “grease monkey.” The base had a large motor pool, servicing vehicles. I was there in late 50’s. Those folks worked on keeping the chassis parts lubricated. Yucky job!

  35. I was at DSP in 2nd of 56 from 10/69 to about 7/70. I learned a lot which cam in handy later on. Then got transferred to Kaiserslautern. I had a great time in Pirmasens, met a lot of great guys. I would like to hear from some of the DSP guys.
    Eddie Harmon

  36. I was stationed there with the 76th Transportation Company.I noticed that you had a shot of bldg 4606, that was our barracks. the pictures brought back many fond memories thanks.

    • I went out with a couple guys from 76th Trans. First guy I don’t remember his name but he was from Redding, CA. The second guy was named Robert Lockett, really cool, smart guy. This was from late ’77 to June ’79. I was in 2nd MI & if I remember our barracks was kitty-corner from yours, and the back of ours faced out off base, I think it was near where Rodolbestrasse started and curved NE from the Kaserne. Such a long time ago, difficult to remember much. I also worked part time at the bowling alley, mostly cooking burgers and handing out shoes & such.

      • I remember Bob Lockett. the last time I seen him was in 81. I was the first truck in a convoy going to Berlin. I was picking up my documents from the American check point so was he. He had gotten out of the Army and came back and started driving for AAFEES. He lived in Berlin. he came over that evening once our convoy got to Berlin. he took a few of us to some of the clubs and had a few drinks with us. yes he was pretty cool. one thing I remembered about Bob was that he paid very close attention to his mustache trimmed very regular. … I was there from nov79 – jan 82

    • I was with the 524th Maintenance Co. We shared barracks space with the 76th Trans. I was there from 82 – 84.

      I worked inside PIMRA right next to the Canteen. I loved the cooking at that Canteen.

  37. Very cool! My family was stationed there from early 1974 to mid 1979. My father was Master Sergeant Weber. I have so many wonderful memories of that place. Thanks for posting this.

  38. Hi…Tom Wiebe,I’m the guy who replaced you back in 1975-80.Stewart Lotches my name.Very well done
    on your artical.I too was a 22l20 at hhq 2/56 I miss Pirmasens also,I had so much fun there..Remember Sgt.Snabble….Shakey Jake..Barry Rita..You know I have not received any of my Military clothes or civilan items yet ?I took one duffle bag full to RSA ALA.But any way
    good luck on your site…Peace brother…my email

  39. I was stationed in Massweiler from 79 to 86 we had to ride a bus 45 minutes to Pirmasens to go to the Px and all that stuff. Massweiler is deserted also. Had some great times over there, planning a vacation to go over to walk down memory lane.

    • Peter – I was in Massweiler in early 62 – we shuttled troops to Pirmasens in a Deuce and a half, no buses back then. I don’t think the trip took 45 minutes, but I’m know the ride was a lot less comfortable than a bus. Take care.

  40. I worked in the AN/MSG-4 Support team stationed there in an old Nuclear weapons Bldg, that had been the Stables in WW1. We shared that space with the Vulcan Army team. That was in 1972-3. We had so many spares that we had no use for, and so we sent a shelter back to the US Army Bluegrass Army Depot in Avon Kentucky. The shelter had at $50,000.00 of lost parts that we could not use. I used to have a photo of the sign, with myself and William Yates, also a civilian employee. The sign was in front of the building. The tanks parked inside a wire fence to the rear of our building.

  41. I was NOT stationed there but further South, near Munich, from 72-75. However, my great grandfather (and prior) were from Pirmasens. I’m always curious about the area so I found your comments interesting. You gotta love google… I ran into your posting by accident, glad I did.

  42. Wow, thank you for posting this page! I lived in Husterhoeh from 1973-1978. My father was 1SGT Pollock of 2/56th ADA. We lived in the apartments across from the PX. I was already out of high school when we moved there from Key West, Florida so I got a job in Zweibrucken working at the Quartermaster Store on the Army base. Living there was such a wonderful experience and I had the great opportunity of traveling Europe that only a resident there could afford. I found your page searching for a friend from that time, he was also a dependant and worked for the snack bar at the other end of the Kaserne by the gym. I have such fond memories that being a dependent of the Army afforded me. Thank you again for revisiting and posting your photos. I have not made it back to Europe again.

    • Hi Joanne. I have great memories of 1st Sgt Pollock Or ””Top” as I knew him. He was the reason that I was selected and got to go to Paris (as color guard) for the
      Bicentennial Celebrations. He also got me before the E6 selection board and I made Staff Sgt. I very much appreciated him during my time there.

      SSgt Rod Brimhall

  43. I was there 73 and 74, worked on the Pirmasens Courrier out of Headquarters. If that auto in your picture is the back end of a Dodge Challenger, it might have been my Staff Sargents Charles D. Ingram. I was attached to 97th Quartermaster but assigned to headquarters. Thanks.

  44. This is fascinating. By the time I arrived there in ’98 with the 226th Med Bn, working alongside the Medical Materiel Command, the place was already a ghost town. I remember running through the deserted streets and past the empty buildings wondering what would happen to all of it. Seems some of my colleagues had lived there before I arrived and had since been moved to Vogelweh, where they caught a bus or drove to Pirmasens every day.

    Anyway, glad to see that the area hasn’t been left to decay.

  45. Great article! I was stationed there myself (2d MI, 78-81) and wondered what they were going to do with the old girl.
    Edith Allison

    • I think I remember you. Did you work in the S1? I did at first and then worked in the vault for Cpt. Scott (?). I came over to 2nd MI in late ’77 after transferring from 73rd MI at Stuttgart Army Airfield. For awhile I used to ride a little blue & white Yamaha motorcycle. My name is Judy Hawkins.


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