In a meadow north of Göppingen, where cows grazed
and the people celebrated May Day, the entrepreneur Carl Hommel built
a Flugplatz (airfield) for civilian use, opening it in April 1930. During
the summer of 1935, the airfield was acquired and expanded by the Luftwaffe
into a 300-acre garrison and facility called the Fliegerhorst
Kaserne (in effect, air force base). An air reconnaissance group
was based there from 1936 until the outbreak of war in 1939, and from
1941 through 1944 Luftwaffe pilots were trained there.
April 20, 1945: Göppingen surrenders to U.S.
The 10th Armored Division, famed for its part in the Battle of the Bulge, accepted the city's surrender. Adolf Hitler killed himself on April 30, and Germany's unconditional
surrender followed on May 7.
1945 - 1949: Occupants of the Fliegerhorst Kaserne
Displaced persons were housed in the barracks by the United Nations
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the International Refugee
Organization: homeless Jews, former slave laborers, refugees from eastern
Europe. The 54th Field Hospital, a unit of the 36th Infantry Division,
and other American units passed through Göppingen after Germany's
surrender but did not occupy the Kaserne.
August 18, 1949: Cooke Barracks receives its name
European Command (EUCOM) General
Orders Number 81 renamed the Fliegerhorst Kaserne, also known as
the "Luftwaffen Kaserne," in honor of CPT Charles H. Cooke, Jr., Battery
B, 32d Field Artillery Battalion. He was posthumously awarded the Silver
Star and Soldier's Medal for gallantry in action during his unit's landing
at Gela, Sicily on July 11, 1943.
1949 - 1951: U.S. armed forces at Cooke Barracks
Which American unit, if any, occupied Cooke Barracks during this period
is not known. If displaced persons were still housed there, they would
have been moved out to another camp no later than 1951. There was such
a camp near the Cooke Barracks main gate as late as 1963.
November 24, 1950: 7th
U.S. Army reactivated in Stuttgart
By the end of 1951, 7th Army included two corps and five divisions (four
infantry, one armored), one of the divisions having its HQ at Cooke
1951 - 1953: Cooke Barracks built up for use as a
In addition to the headquarters, barracks, a garage and motor pool,
and other military necessities, reconditioned from Luftwaffe buildings
or newly built, other facilities such as the post theater, PX, and photo
lab were built when the first American units arrived. The officers'
and family housing areas, as well as the chapel, service club, NCO and
EM Clubs, snack bar, bowling alley, and the 9-hole golf course, were
added during the 1950s to create a "little America" for servicemen and
their dependents. Here is an aerial
photograph of Cooke Barracks as it was at the end, and here is a
showing its streets (named) and buildings (not named).
November 26, 1951 - May 25, 1954: 28th
The first division-level HQ at Cooke Barracks, deployed there from Camp
Atterbury, IN. At the end, 28th Infantry Division was redesignated as
the 9th Infantry Division.
May 25, 1954 - October 9, 1956: 9th
Activated at Cooke Barracks with the personnel and materiel of the 28th
Infantry Division. At the end, 9th Infantry Division was rotated to
Fort Carson, CO in "Operation Gyroscope."
October 9, 1956 - December 13, 1957: 8th
Rotated to Germany from Fort Carson, CO, in "Operation Gyroscope," replacing
the 9th Infantry Division at Cooke Barracks. At the end, 8th Infantry
Division moved to Hindenburg Kaserne, Bad Kreuznach, renaming it Maurice
December 13, 1957 - May 10, 1971: 4th
Rotated to Germany from Fort Hood, TX, in "Operation Gyroscope," replacing
the 8th Infantry Division at Cooke Barracks. At the end, 4th Armored
Division was redesignated as the 1st Armored Division and deactivated.
May 10, 1971 - March 1972: 1st
Activated at Cooke Barracks with the personnel and materiel of the 4th
Armored Division. At the end, 1st Armored Division moved to Hindenburg
Kaserne, Ansbach; the exact date of the move is not known.
March 1972 - August 15, 1991: 1st
Infantry Division (Forward)
Moved from Augsburg, replacing the 1st Armored Division at Cooke Barracks;
exact date of arrival is unknown. Notice of inactivation was received
in summer 1990. Members of the 4th Battalion 16th Infantry, Detachment
1 of the 101st Military Intelligence Battalion, and others were sent
to Saudi Arabia in December for Operation Desert Storm, returning to
Göppingen on May 8, 1991. Meanwhile the 1st Infantry Division (Forward)
transferred its equipment to other units in Europe and to units deploying
to the Gulf, and was inactivated at Cooke Barracks on August 15.
August 15, 1991 - February 27, 1992: Closing down
HQ & HQ Co., Goeppingen Military Community, commanded by LTC Jon
Goodman, readied Cooke Barracks for inactivation. About 30 military
personnel remained on post until the end.
February 28, 1992: Cooke Barracks handed over to
the German government
LTC Goodman turned over the base to the Stuttgart office of the Bundesvermögensamt,
which administers German government property. Göppingen's Oberbürgermeister
(mayor) Hans Haller attended the ceremony. The property was eventually
acquired by the city of Göppingen.
February 29, 1992 - present: Redevelopment of the
The troop barracks were first used to house asylum seekers from eastern
Europe and elsewhere. These and others of the military buildings have
since been demolished. Those that remain, most of them renovated, include
the family and officers' housing, post engineers' buildings, hangars,
chapel (now a cultural center), and MP gatehouse (now a bar and restaurant
called Die Wache, "The Guard"). The Flugplatz is now a new
Göppingen district named Stauferpark
where high-tech commercial installations, three residential areas, and
recreational facilities are growing among the familiar streets. But
the Göppingers haven't forgotten their former neighbors: they still
celebrate "American Days" every August.
Compiled by John Francis, 504th Admin Co., 1966-1968.
Please send corrections and improvements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks especially to Alec Farrell and Bill Swingler and also to Matt
Angelucci, George W. Bravo, Ken S. Chan, Matthew Cheers, LTC Mitchell
D. Franks, JA (Ret), John Gibson, Dan Gislason, Michael J. Mannion,
George Matchette, Brian R. McCoy, Craig Nelson, T.A. Roberts, and Richard
H. Robison for their information, David Wisniewski for the aerial photograph,
and Scott Reed for the map link.
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