Also spelled "caserne", this word was stolen lock stock and barrel from German, where it simply means barracks. Since "barracks" is one of those English words where what looks like a plural is actually singular, Americans quickly seized on "kaserne" to describe the military bases in and near German cities that held one or more battalions of troops. In addition to the barracks where the troops slept, a kaserne would also usually have a PX, some recreation facilities such as a theater, bowling alley, clubs for enlisted men and officers, motorpools, maintenance facilities, and an open field for exercises.

The kaserne I am most familiar with, Gerszewski Barracks in Karlsruhe, had all of these things and a clothing sales store besides. It was also home to a pair of combat engineer battalions, a combat equipment company that maintained equipment for REFORGER units, a dispensary for minor medical problems, and a couple of mess halls. Even though the 331st had a mess section of its own, we ate our meals at the 249th Engineer Battalion's mess hall where our cooks (well, whichever one hadn't been exiled to Mount Meissner) worked. Nobody pulled KP at Gerszewski; that kind of work was done by Turkish civilians.

Kasernes were not always located with public transit in mind, and many soldiers didn't bother jumping through all the hoops involved in acquiring and operating a car in West Germany. For this reason, there was usually a military shuttle bus that ran between the several kasernes that made up a "military community". This was part of the reason in-processing and out-processing could take up to two weeks: it was all too easy to spend a day wandering around on the shuttle bus between offices in different kasernes, to say nothing of sitting in those offices along with a dozen other people.

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