Stationed in the rolling countryside of Bum-Fuck-Hessen, Germany, Ayers Kaserne was, until 1992, home to one of the single most powerful units in United States Army, Europe, "USAEUR" (Pronounced Use-Uh-Ruh): The 1st Brigade of the 3rd Armored Division. At its peak strength, there were approx. 6,000 soldiers there that comprised two Armor battalions (2/32 and 2/33, later replaced by 4/32), two Infantry battalions (2/36 and 3/36), one Field Artillery battalion (2/3, the one I was in), as well as other support units like air defense, logistics, medical, fucking Military Police (To this day, I hate fucking MP's), etc.
Ayers Kaserne, Kirch-Goens, West Germany, 1985
After fighting with great distinction during WW2, earning the nickname “Spearhead”, the 3rd Armored Division spent most of the Cold War stationed in West Germany. The 3rd’s most famous soldier is without a doubt one Elvis Aaron Presley, who was assigned to 1/32 Armor in Friedberg from 1958 to 1960. By all accounts, Elvis was a good soldier (as Southerners usually are). It’s been said that Elvis was introduced to drugs, specifically amphetamines, while in the Army. In the photo on the left, Elvis looks almost as high as he was when he took that infamous picture with Tricky Dick Nixon in 1970. Knowing how the military absolutely HATES that thing called “sleep”, I have no reason to doubt the story.
Elvis Presley: A normal, average, red-blooded, red-eyed, higher-than-a-kite All-American GI.
After participating in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the 3rd AD returned to Germany to resume its Cold War mission. The collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact changed everything however, and U.S. forces in Europe were rapidly drawn down. The 3rd AD was deactivated in 1992 and its various component units were transferred or also deactivated. Practically overnight, what was once a place that was bustling and hustling 24/7/365 became a virtual ghost town.
After being open way longer than it should have, probably because the German government wanted to keep their local nationals employed for as long as possible, Ayers Kaserne was eventually closed and returned to the Germans. After being semi-abandoned for several years, Ayers Kaserne was literally leveled and bulldozed to the ground, becoming the headquarters for a large trucking company. The transition made sense, as that company was right down the street, and the large military-grade motor pools, constructed to hold the weight of tanks and other heavy tracked and wheeled vehicles, suited itself well for large trucks.
The former Ayers Kaserne, Kirch-Goens, (Unified) Germany, 2017
When an old buddy told me that Ayers Kaserne was demolished, I was momentarily saddened; Army life isn’t easy, but I also had a lot of good times and good memories of my service there, and of the surprisingly large number of women who gave me access to them. However, I also quickly realized that Ayers Kaserne had fulfilled its mission, and was glad to see “a sword turned into a ploughshare”, although large trucks and the assholes that drive them are among my least favorite things in the world. I still firmly believe that NATO should have been dissolved within hours of the Warsaw Pact doing the same, but that's another story.