After the post war occupation phase had faded away, the U.S.Army as a NATO ally invited the citizens of Augsburg again and again to visit at the kasernes during „Days of Open Door“. This can be followed back as far as to the 50s, especially to the third Saturdays in May, the Armed Forces Day. Other occasions were the German-American Friendship Weeks or the Independence Day festivities. In Gablingen, this was also „Day of the Open Kaserne Door“ in 1962.
Especially in the 70s and 80s, troops stationed in Augsburg showed their military equipment that was „off limits“ for civilians behind strictly guarded fences during the rest of the year. Regardless of the fact that there were no cultural events, parachute descents and playing bands prooved to be sufficient to lure numerous visitors again and again. In spite of open Community Center and Hobby Shops, visiting Augsburgers were more interested in American sports activities, especially baseball, and in American soft drinks and foot – American ice cream being the all time favorite. The German Bundeswehr was also participating in the exhibitions of weapon systems. Less martial were the also shown ambulance and fire fighter vehicles.
It is proofen that the majority of the events took place along the streets surrounding Sheridan Kaserne´s Dawson Field. In some earlier cases, the Army also tried to mollify trouble with German civilians with the help of these occasions. The beginning of the Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield/Storm) and the thus changed security situation terminated any such activities. Nevertheless, the Americans did not do without a demonstration of military strength by an exhibition of vehicles and weapons including the Patriot Tactical Air-Defence System at the Volksfest area next to the High School in May 1991.
Anyway, these acitvities were crucial to the integration of U.S. military and their acceptance by the German people.
On Armed Forces Day, the general public were also invited at Gablingen Kaserne. Here, the 24th Infantry Division Band is playing swinging military pieces in front of the airfield tower in 1961. (Photo: Jack Slattery).
At Gablingen tower, two M48A2AVLB Bridge Layers are demonstrating their capabilities. (Photo: orangedriver, AiA archives).