Abandoned vehicles sit at the abandoned vehicle lot on Tower Barracks before being towed to a location to be salvaged and sold for scrap as an initiative to remove abandoned vehicles from the installation. (U.S. Army photo by Julian Temblador)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria removed approximately 50 vehicles from the Tower Barracks abandoned vehicle lot on Tuesday, June 2. These vehicles are then salvaged and sold for scrap by the local Family and MWR program.


According to officials with the Department of Emergency Services, over 300 abandoned vehicles currently exist between Rose and Tower Barracks alone. Cases of abandoned vehicles occur when community members PCS without properly deregistering or donating their vehicles. As abandoned vehicles take up space in installation parking lots, they ultimately become force protection issues. 


In May 2021, the newly reformed Abandoned Vehicle Committee — which consists of enlisted service members, an officer and a customs agent — convened for the first time to remove vehicles from the lots. The primary duty of this committee is to ensure adequate notification and proper procedures were correctly administered. They will continue to meet bi-monthly.

Each abandoned vehicle that is to be removed has a packet that must go through the Abandoned Vehicle Committee. (U.S. Army photo by Julian Temblador)

“When a community member abandons a vehicle, the vehicle’s plates are removed by the military police and are returned to the registration office,” USAG Bavaria Vehicle Disposition Officer Staff Sgt. William Kesler said. “All vehicles on the installations must be registered at all times, no matter the condition [operable and non-operable].”


Once MPs remove plates from the vehicle, a notification is placed on the car for 15 days — allowing adequate time for the owner to address the issue. If the owner does not reregister the vehicle in the allotted time, it is then considered abandoned. At this point, the MPs create a report, and the vehicle is towed to the abandoned vehicle lot. 


Once the car is in the abandoned vehicle lot, the owner of the vehicle, the lienholder, and the service member’s chain of command all receive notification via certified mail. This notification marks the beginning of a 45-day period where owners should respond to the garrison. 


After the Abandoned Vehicle Committee determines the status — deeming whether the vehicle is abandoned or not — the garrison will then dispose of the cars per Army in Europe Regulation 190-1. In collaboration with DES, assets from FMWR tow the abandoned vehicles and salvage them for parts and scrap metal. 

An FMWR tow truck tows abandoned vehicles to a location to be salvaged and sold for scrap as an initiative to remove abandoned vehicles from the installation. (U.S. Army photo by Julian Temblador)

“And that’s what we are doing today,” Kesler said. “There are a few options for community members to avoid this happening to them. The biggest thing for the community to understand is that if the vehicle is not operable, it is still required for the car to be registered.” 


Important Tips:

  • First and foremost, owners should either sell their vehicles or take them to their next duty station. Owners can utilize the MWR auto resale lot or use other resale platforms.
  • If owners cannot transfer or sell their vehicles, community members can ‘turn in’ their cars to MWR through the vehicle turn-in service for a $70 fee. 


Visit the garrison’s vehicle registration webpage for more information. 

A forklift raises a vehicle onto an FMWR tow truck from the abandoned vehicle lot to a location to be salvaged and sold for scrap as an initiative to rid the installation of abandoned vehicles. (U.S. Army photo by Julian Temblador)

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