Why are there U.S. military forces stationed in Germany? After World War II, the Occupation Statute was signed to allow France, the United Kingdom, and the United States to keep occupational forces in West Germany. After WWII, the United States, Britain, and France (Allies) drew up the statute to give the Federal Republic of Germany conditional sovereignty and admit it into the Marshal Plan organization as an equal partner. The statute allowed the Allies to retain rights to keep occupational forces in the country. The Occupation Statute was followed by the Convention on the Presence of Foreign Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany and signed in 1954. Eight NATO members were allowed to have a permanent military presence in German, and the U.S. was one of the countries. In the late 1950s there were more than 400,000 U.S. troops deployed to West Germany and allied countries. Currently, there are about 35,000 U.S. troops in Germany. The U.S. military’s unified Europe Command headquarters is in Stuttgart. The U.S. Air Force’s European operations are headquartered at Ramstein Air Base.
This week, we salute Richard Thompson. Richard served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1965. He went to basic at Fort Ord California and training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He trained as a helicopter mechanic. Richard was stationed outside of Munich, Germany. He enjoyed living in Germany. In fact, he and his buddies had an idea to open outdoor theaters in Germany. Unfortunately, he was discharged from the Army before that idea could come to fruition. He has lived in Rosebud county all his life. He is married and has 2 adult children.