United States Air Forces in Europe
Overview
 
The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) is the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 component of U.S. European Command, a Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 unified command, and is one of two Air Force Major Commands outside of the continental United States, the other being the Pacific Air Forces. It is, however, the only USAF Major Command to be headquartered outside of the United States.

USAFE is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, Germany. It is the oldest continuously active USAF major command, being constituted on January 19, 1942, as the 8 Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 by the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

.
Encyclopedia
The United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) is the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 component of U.S. European Command, a Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 unified command, and is one of two Air Force Major Commands outside of the continental United States, the other being the Pacific Air Forces. It is, however, the only USAF Major Command to be headquartered outside of the United States.

USAFE is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, Germany. It is the oldest continuously active USAF major command, being constituted on January 19, 1942, as the 8 Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 by the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

. The command was activated on February 1, 1942, at Langley Field, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

As of March 2011, the commander of USAFE is General Mark A. Welsh III. Lieutenant General Stephen P. Mueller is Vice Commander, and Chief Master Sergeant David W. Williamson is the Command Chief Master Sergeant, United States Air Forces in Europe. The command has more than 39,000 active-duty, Reserve and civilian employees assigned.

Mission

The mission of the United States Air Forces in Europe is to be the air component for the U.S. European Command, directing air operations in a theater spanning three continents, covering more than 20000000 square miles (51,799,762.2 km²), containing 91 countries and possessing one-fourth of the world's population and about one-third of the world's Gross Domestic Product.

As part of this mission, USAFE trains and equips U.S. Air Force units pledged to NATO, maintaining combat-ready wings based from Great Britain to Turkey. USAFE plans, conducts, controls, coordinates and supports air and space operations in Europe, parts of Asia and Africa to achieve U.S. national and NATO objectives based on taskings by the U.S. EUCOM commander.

Numbered air forces

Third Air Force
Third Air Force
The Third Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe . It is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....

, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base Germany, plans combat and humanitarian operations in the USAFE area of responsibility and conducts day-to-day operations for USAFE and European Command to organize, train and equip Airmen for the functions they could be called upon to accomplish around the world.

Seventeenth Air Force
Seventeenth Air Force
Seventeenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The command served the United States Air Forces in Europe during its years of active service...

 was activated on 1 October 2008 to serve as the air component for United States Africa Command
United States Africa Command
The United States Africa Command is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. It is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with 53 African nations – an area of responsibility covering all...

 and is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

.

Operating bases

The command has five main operating bases along with 80 geographically separated locations. These are:
  • United Kingdom
    • RAF Lakenheath
      RAF Lakenheath
      RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

       (48 FW
      48th Fighter Wing
      The 48th Fighter Wing is part of the United States Air Force Third Air Force, assigned to HQ Air Command Europe, and is based at RAF Lakenheath, England. The 48 FW is the only F-15 wing based in Europe...

      )
      • F-15E Strike Eagle
        F-15E Strike Eagle
        The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole fighter, derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. United States Air Force F-15E Strike...

         (492 & 494 FS)
      • F-15C/D Eagle
        F-15 Eagle
        The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

         (493 FS)
      • HH-60G PaveHawk
        HH-60 Pave Hawk
        The Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Hawk is a twin turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force. It is a derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk and incorporates the US Air Force PAVE electronic systems program...

         (56 RQS)
    • RAF Mildenhall
      RAF Mildenhall
      RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force station located at Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as an RAF station, it primarily supports United States Air Force operations and is currently the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing...

       (100 ARW
      100th Air Refueling Wing
      The 100th Air Refueling Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England. It is also the host wing at RAF Mildenhall....

      )
      • KC-135 Stratotanker
        KC-135 Stratotanker
        The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling military aircraft. It and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratotanker...

         (351 ARS)
      • 352nd Special Operations Group (AFSOC tenant unit)
        • MC-130P Combat Shadow
          C-130 Hercules
          The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

           (67 SOS)
        • MC-130H Combat Talon II
          MC-130 Combat Talon
          The Lockheed MC-130 is the basic designation for a family of special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command , a wing of the Air Education and Training Command, and an AFSOC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command...

           (7 SOS)
      • RC-135 Rivet Joint
        RC-135 Rivet Joint
        The Boeing RC-135 is a family of large reconnaissance aircraft used by the United States Air Force to support theater and national level intelligence consumers with near real-time on-scene collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities. Based on the C-135 Stratolifter airframe, various types...

         (95 RS)
    • RAF Alconbury
      RAF Alconbury
      RAF Alconbury is an active Royal Air Force station in Cambridgeshire, England. The airfield is adjacent to the Stukeleys [Great and Little] and located about northwest of Huntingdon; about north of London....

      • 501st Combat Support Wing
        501st Combat Support Wing
        The 501st Combat Support Wing is a United States Air Forces in Europe unit based at RAF Alconbury, England. The wing traces its history to a World War II bombardment group which served in the Pacific, mostly bombing mainland Japan, in 1944–45...


  • Italy
    • Aviano AB
      Aviano Air Base
      Aviano Air Base is a NATO Air Base under U.S. Air Force administration in northeastern Italy, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps, or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone.-Units:Aviano is hosted by the...

       (31 FW
      31st Fighter Wing
      The 31st Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy where it is also the host unit....

      )
      • F-16CG/DG (Block 40)
        F-16 Fighting Falcon
        The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

         (510 & 555 FS)
  • Germany
    • Spangdahlem AB
      Spangdahlem Air Base
      Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

       (52 FW
      52d Fighter Wing
      The 52d Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.-Mission:The 52 FW maintains, deploys and employs F-16CJ and A/OA-10 aircraft and TPS-75 radar systems in support of NATO and the national defense directives...

      )
      • F-16CJ/DJ (Block 50) Fighting Falcon
        F-16 Fighting Falcon
        The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

         (480 FS)
      • A-10A/OA-10A Thunderbolt II
        A-10 Thunderbolt II
        The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks,...

         (81 FS)
    • Ramstein AB
      Ramstein Air Base
      Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

       (86 AW)
      • C-130J Hercules
        C-130 Hercules
        The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

         (37 AS)
      • C-20H
        C-20 Gulfstream III
        The Gulfstream III, a business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, is an an improved variant of the Grumman Gulfstream II.-Design and development:...

         (76 AS)
      • C-21A (76 AS)
      • C-40B
        C-40 Clipper
        -See also:-External links:* - retrieved 20 December 2006* - retrieved 20 December 2006* - retrieved 20 December 2006* *...

         (76 AS)
      • 435th Air Ground Operations Wing

Secondary and Support Facilities:
  • Belgium
    • Chièvres Air Base
      Chièvres Air Base
      Chièvres Air Base is a United States Air Force airfield located in the Belgian town of Chièvres and about 12 miles from Headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe , in Casteau. It is mainly used to provide logistic support to NATO and SHAPE...

       (86 AW)
      • C-37 Gulfstream V (309 AS)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
    • Tuzla Air Base
      Tuzla Air Base
      Tuzla Air Base is a former SFR Yugoslav Air Force and later, NATO Air Force base, located south-southeast of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina...

       (Det. 401 AEG)
  • Cyprus
    • RAF Akrotiri
      RAF Akrotiri
      Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

      • U-2S
        Lockheed U-2
        The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

         (part of deployed tenant unit from 9 RW of ACC)
  • Germany
    • Stuttgart-Echterdingen Airport (86 AW)
      • C-21A (HQ USEUCOM)
  • Hungary
    • Taszar Air Base
      Taszár Air Base
      Taszár Air Base is a military air base located near Taszár, a village in Somogy county, Hungary. It is east of Kaposvár.-Overview:Taszár Air Base was a Soviet airfield during the Cold War, but it became the primary staging post for peacekeeping forces coming and going into the Balkans in December...

  • Italy
    • San Vito dei Normanni Air Station
  • Norway
    • Sola Sea Air Station (426 ABS)
    • Stavanger Air Station (Det. 426 ABS)

  • Portugal
    • Lajes Air Station (65 ABW
      65th Air Base Wing
      The 65th Air Base Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force based out of Lajes Air Base, Azores, Portugal.-Mission:The wing provides base and en route support for Department of Defense, allied nations and other authorized aircraft in transit, including those from the Netherlands, Belgium,...

      )
  • Spain
    • Morón Air Base
      Morón Air Base
      Morón Air Base is located at in southern Spain, approximately southeast of the city of Seville and northeast of Naval Station Rota. The base gets its name from the nearby town of Morón de la Frontera - although its is actually located in the municipality of Arahal.Morón's massive flight line,...

       (86 AW, 496 ABS)
  • Turkey
    • İzmir Air Base
      Izmir Air Base
      Izmir Air Station is a United States Air Force facility in Izmir, Turkey. It is located SSW of Istanbul, on the western coast of Turkey.U.S. responsibilities in the Izmir area began on September 8, 1952 with the activation of Allied Land Forces Southeast Europe and the arrival on October 14, 1953...

    • Ankara Air Station
    • Incirlik Air Base
      Incirlik Air Base
      The Incirlik Air Base is located in İncirlik, five miles east of Adana, Turkey's fifth largest city, and from the Mediterranean Sea.The U.S...

       (39 ABW
      39th Air Base Wing
      The 39th Air Base Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey...

      )
  • United Kingdom
    • 501st Combat Support Wing
      501st Combat Support Wing
      The 501st Combat Support Wing is a United States Air Forces in Europe unit based at RAF Alconbury, England. The wing traces its history to a World War II bombardment group which served in the Pacific, mostly bombing mainland Japan, in 1944–45...

       RAF Alconbury
      RAF Alconbury
      RAF Alconbury is an active Royal Air Force station in Cambridgeshire, England. The airfield is adjacent to the Stukeleys [Great and Little] and located about northwest of Huntingdon; about north of London....

      • RAF Alconbury
        RAF Alconbury
        RAF Alconbury is an active Royal Air Force station in Cambridgeshire, England. The airfield is adjacent to the Stukeleys [Great and Little] and located about northwest of Huntingdon; about north of London....

         (423 ABG)
      • RAF Croughton
        RAF Croughton
        RAF Croughton is a United States Air Force communications base in Northamptonshire, England, to the southeast of the village of Croughton. The station is home to the 422nd Air Base Group and operates one of Europe's largest military switchboards and processes approximately a third of all U.S...

         (422 ABG)
      • RAF Molesworth
        RAF Molesworth
        RAF Molesworth is a Royal Air Force station located near Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom with a history dating back to 1917.Its runway and flight line facilities were closed in 1973 and demolished to support ground-launched cruise missile operations in the early 1980s...

         (423 ABG)
      • RAF Upwood
        RAF Upwood
        RAF Upwood was a United States Air Force installation adjacent to the village of Upwood, Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom.It is a non-flying station which was under the control of the United States Air Force, and one of three RAF stations in Cambridgeshire currently used by the United States...

         (423 ABG)
      • RAF Welford
        RAF Welford
        RAF Welford is an active Royal Air Force station in Berkshire, England. The airfield is located approximately northwest of Newbury; about west-southwest of London...

         (424 ABS)
      • RAF Menwith Hill
        RAF Menwith Hill
        RAF Menwith Hill is a Royal Air Force station near Harrogate, North Yorkshire which provides communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the United States of America...

         (421 ABG)
      • RAF Fairford
        RAF Fairford
        RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in...

         (420 ABG)
        • Operated as surge base, particularly for U.S. based B-52s
          B-52 Stratofortress
          The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who have continued to provide maintainence and upgrades to the aircraft in service...

           and B-1Bs

Note: In addition to the above, several Munitions Support Squadrons (MUNSS) are geographically separated units (GSU) located throughout Europe assigned to the 52 FW at Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

, Germany. MUNSS are located at Ghedi AB Italy, Buechel AB Germany, Volkel AB Netherlands, and Kleine-Brogel AB Belgium. They are co-located on other NATO main operating bases and work together with the host nation wing.

The United States Air Forces in Europe Band with its 45 members is located at Sembach Air Base near Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Lineage

  • Established as 8th Air Force on 19 January 1942
Activated on 28 January 1942.
Redesignated: Eighth Air Force on 18 September 1942
Redesignated: United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe on 22 February 1944
Redesignated: United States Air Forces in Europe on 7 August 1945
Was a specified command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 22 January 1951-1 July 1956

Assignments

  • Air Force Combat Command, 28 January 1942
Attached to 1st Air Force
First Air Force
The First Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command . It is headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida....

 for training
  • European Theater of Operations, U. S. Army, c. 18 June 1942
  • European Command, 15 March 1947
  • United States Air Force
    United States Air Force
    The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

    , 26 September 1947–present

Stations

  • Savannah AB, Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

    , 28 January - c. 20 May 1942
  • Boston Port of Embarkation, 25–27 May 1942
  • London, England, 18 June 1942
  • Camp Griffiss
    Camp Griffiss
    Camp Griffiss was a US military base in the United Kingdom during and after World War II.-History:From 1942, Camp Griffiss in Bushy Park became the site of a large US base, headquarters to a number of the Allied departments. The camp served as the European Headquarters for the USAAF from July 1942...

    , Bushy Park
    Bushy Park
    - External links :***...

    , England, 25 June 1942
  • Saint-Germain-en-Laye
    Saint-Germain-en-Laye
    Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris from the centre.Inhabitants are called Saint-Germanois...

    , France, 26 September 1944
  • Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden
    Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

    , Germany (Later West Germany)
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , 28 September 1945
  • Lindsey AB (later, AS), West Germany
    West Germany
    West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

    , 15 August 1953
  • Ramstein AB, West Germany (Now Germany)
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , 14 March 1973–present

Components

Commands
  • Air Disarmament (Provisional): 15 September 1944-1 February 1945
  • Eastern, USSTAF: 20 August 1944-2 August 1945
  • European Air Materiel: 15 September-10 November 1947
  • European Aviation Engineer (Provisional): 22 December 1945-20 November 1946
  • Headquarters, Command, USAFE (Provisional): 12 October 1946-1 July 1948
  • VIII Bomber (later, Eighth Air Force
    Eighth Air Force
    The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

    ): 1 February 1942-16 July 1945
  • VIII Ground Air Support (later, VIII Air Support): 28 August 1942-1 December 1943
  • VIII Troop Carrier: c. July 1942-16 October 1943 (detached entire period)
  • 8th Interceptor (later, 8th Fighter; VIII Fighter)
    VIII Fighter Command
    The VIII Fighter Command is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at RAF Honington, England. It was inactivated on 20 March 1946....

    : 1 February 1942-22 February 1944; 16 July 1945-20 March 1946
  • 8th Air Force Base (later, 8th Air Force Service; VIII Air Force Service; Air Service, USSTAF: Air Technical Service Command in Europe): c. 9 June 1942-30 September 1945
  • IX Air Defense
    IX Air Defense Command
    The IX Air Defense Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Ninth Air Force, based at Neustadt, Germany...

    : 2 December 1945-1 February 1946
  • XII Tactical Air: 15 November 1945-10 November 1947


Task Forces
  • Airlift (Provisional): 29 July-4 November 1948
  • 1st Airlift: 14 October 1948-1 October 1949
  • Air Depot Areas: Advanced: 18 October 1943-1 March 1945
  • VIII Air Force Base (later, Base): 18 October 1943-1 March 1944; 30 September 1945-25 May 1946
  • VIII Strategic (later, VIII Air Force Service Command), 9 November 1943-20 July 1945
  • Eighth Strategic (Provisional) (later, VIII Air Force Service Command): 9 November 1943-20 July 1945


Air Forces
  • Third (later, Third Air Force (Air Forces Europe))
    Third Air Force
    The Third Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe . It is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....

    : 1 May 1951-1 November 2005; 1 December 2006–present
  • Ninth Air Force
    Ninth Air Force
    The Ninth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command . It is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina....

    : June 1944-2 December 1945
  • Twelfth Air Force
Attached 12 September-9 November 1942
Assigned 7–31 August 1945; 21 January 1951-1 January 1958
  • Fifteenth Air Force
    Fifteenth Air Force
    The Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force is one of two EMTFs assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command . It is headquartered at Travis Air Force Base, California....

    : 22 February 1944 - 15 September 1945
  • Sixteenth Air Force
    Sixteenth Air Force
    The 16th Air Expeditionary Task Force is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe...

    : 15 April 1966-30 April 2008
  • Seventeenth Air Force
    Seventeenth Air Force
    Seventeenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The command served the United States Air Forces in Europe during its years of active service...

    : 23 April 1953-30 September 1996; 1 October 2008-(Proposed)


Air Divisions
  • 2d Air Division: 1 June 1949-20 January 1951; 15 April 1955-1 April 1962
  • 3d Air Division: 23 August 1948-2 January 1949; 21 January-1 May 1951; 25 October 1953-1 March 1954. 40: c. 31 October 1945-20 December 1946
  • 42d Air Division
    42d Air Division
    The 42d Air Division was a unit of the United States Air Force. It was established as the 42 Bombardment Wing on 8 February 1943. The wing first saw combat in September 1943. It was inactivated in 1991.-History:...

    : 26 July-13 October 1945
  • 65th Air Division: 1 July 1960 - 1 January 1965
  • 86th Air Division
    86th Air Division
    The 86th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Ramstein Air Base, West Germany...

    : 1 July 1948-10 October 1949; 1 January 1958-15 November 1959; 1 July-1 September 1963; 20 May 1965-5 October 1968.
  • 302d Air Division
    302d Air Division
    The 302 Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force Division. Its last assignment was with Air Defense Command, assigned to Fourteenth Air Force, being stationed at Marietta AAB, Georgia. It was inactivated on 27 June 1949....

    : 18 July-c. 8 December 1945
  • 306th Air Division: 15 November 1959-1 April 1960
  • 322d Air Division: 1 March-1 April 1954
  • 7217th Air Division
    7217th Air Division
    The 7217th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Ankara Air Station, Turkey...

    : 15 November 1959-9 September 1970
  • 7499th Air Division: 29 July-5 September 1948


Division
  • 1st Bombardment Division: 13 September 1942-22 February 1944
  • 1st Fighter Division (Provisional): c.June-13 November 1943.
  • 2nd Bombardment Division: 13 September 1943-22 February 1944.


Service
  • European Air Transport: 4 September 1945-20 December 1947.

Origins

USAFE originated as the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

' Eighth Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 in 1942. Eighth Air Force was the command and control authority over its three combat commands, VIII Bomber, VIII Fighter and VIII Air Support Command.

On 22 February 1944 a massive reorganization of American airpower took place in Europe. Eighth Air Force was redesignated as United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF),

The VIII Bomber Command was redesignated as Eighth Air Force and brought under the control of USSTAF. The tactical air force in England, Ninth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
The Ninth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command . It is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina....

 was also brought directly under its control. USSTAF also exercised control over the other two Air Forces in the European Theater, Twelfth Air Force and Fifteenth Air Force
Fifteenth Air Force
The Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force is one of two EMTFs assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command . It is headquartered at Travis Air Force Base, California....

, both in Italy.

The other combat commands of the former Eighth Air Force, VIII Fighter and VIII Air Support Commands were brought under the command of the newly redesignated Eighth Air Force. VIII Bomber Command was inactivated.

On 7 August 1945, the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) was redesignated as the "United States Air Forces in Europe" (USAFE) and headquarters USAFE was relocated to Wiesbaden, Germany, on 28 September 1945.

Postwar Europe

Within 18 months of VE-Day, virtually all U.S. armed forces personnel had left Europe except for the Occupation Forces in Germany, Austria, and a small number of Army troops in Italy to control the Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 problem.

USAFE had been reduced from a force of 17,000 aircraft and about 500,000 personnel to about 2,000 aircraft and 75,000 personnel. USAFE's wartime Air Forces had been rapidly demobilized or reassigned. Eighth Air Force
Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana....

 was deployed to Okinawa in August 1945; Twelfth Air Force was inactivated in August 1945; Fifteenth Air Force
Fifteenth Air Force
The Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force is one of two EMTFs assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command . It is headquartered at Travis Air Force Base, California....

 was inactivated in September 1945 and Ninth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
The Ninth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command . It is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina....

 was inactivated in December 1945.

The units which USAFE commanded as part of the Army of Occupation (1945–1948) were:

XII Tactical Air Command
(7 May 1945 - 10 November 1947)
Units assigned directly to HQ USAFE after 10 May 1947




2d Bombardment Group
2d Bomb Wing
The 2d Bomb Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command and Eighth Air Force. It is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The wing is also the host unit at Barksdale...

Foggia
Foggia
Foggia is a city and comune of Apulia, Italy, capital of the province of Foggia. Foggia is the main city of a plain called Tavoliere, also known as the "granary of Italy".-History:...

, Italy, 19 November 1945-28 February 1946
10th Reconnaissance Group
10th Air Base Wing
The 10th Air Base Wing is a non-flying United States Air Force unit that is the host wing for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Components:...

Fürth
Fürth
The city of Fürth is located in northern Bavaria, Germany in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. It is now contiguous with the larger city of Nuremberg, the centres of the two cities being only 7 km apart....

, Germany, 28 April 1945 - April 1947
Fürstenfeldbruck
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

, Germany, April - June 1947
27th Fighter Group
Fritzlar
Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

, Germany, 20 August 1946 - 25 June 1947
31st Fighter Group
31st Fighter Wing
The 31st Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy where it is also the host unit....

Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt is a municipality in the district of Würzburg in Bavaria in Germany.History of GiebelstadtThe town is the birthplace of Florian Geyer , also known as "Florian Geier from Giebelstadt", a Franconian nobleman who led the Black Company during the Peasants War resulting from the Protestant...

, Germany, 20 August - 30 September 1946
Kitzingen
Kitzingen
Kitzingen is a town in the German state of Bavaria, capital of the district Kitzingen. It is part of Franconia geographical region and has around 21,000 inhabitants.Surrounded by vineyards, Kitzingen County is the largest wine producer in Bavaria...

, Germany, 30 September 1946 - 25 June 1947
33d Fighter Group
33d Fighter Wing
The 33d Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida where it is a tenant unit....

Neubiberg
Neubiberg
Neubiberg is a municipality south-east of Munich, Germany, founded in 1912. It used to have an airport that was used as a Luftwaffe-base in the Third Reich and after the war as an U.S. airbase and in the following years as the German Air Force officer school. Today the largest part of the area is...

, Germany, 20 August 1946 - July 1947
Bad Kissingen
Bad Kissingen
Bad Kissingen is a spa town in the Bavarian region of Lower Franconia and is the seat of the district Bad Kissingen. Situated to the south of the Rhön Mountains on the Franconian Saale river, it is a world-famous health resort.- Town structure :...

, Germany, July - 25 August 1947
36th Fighter Group
36th Wing
The United States Air Force's 36th Wing is the host wing for Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. It is part of United States Pacific Air Forces Thirteenth Air Force...

Kassel/Rothwesten
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

, Germany, 21 April 1945 - 15 February 1946
Fürstenfeldbruck
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

, Germany, August 1948 - 17 November 1952
52d Fighter Group
52d Fighter Wing
The 52d Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.-Mission:The 52 FW maintains, deploys and employs F-16CJ and A/OA-10 aircraft and TPS-75 radar systems in support of NATO and the national defense directives...

Schweinfurt
Schweinfurt
Schweinfurt is a city in the Lower Franconia region of Bavaria in Germany on the right bank of the canalized Main, which is here spanned by several bridges, 27 km northeast of Würzburg.- History :...

, Germany, 9 November 1946 - 5 May 1947
Bad Kissingen
Bad Kissingen
Bad Kissingen is a spa town in the Bavarian region of Lower Franconia and is the seat of the district Bad Kissingen. Situated to the south of the Rhön Mountains on the Franconian Saale river, it is a world-famous health resort.- Town structure :...

, Germany, 5 May 1947 - 25 June 1947
55th Fighter Group
55th Wing
The 55th Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command. The unit is stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska....

Kaufbeuren
Kaufbeuren
Kaufbeuren is an independent city in the Regierungsbezirk of Schwaben, southern Bavaria. The city is completely enclaved within the district of Ostallgäu.- Culture and Objects of Interest :* Townhall * Crescentiakloster...

, Germany, 22 July 1945 - 28 April 1946
Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt is a municipality in the district of Würzburg in Bavaria in Germany.History of GiebelstadtThe town is the birthplace of Florian Geyer , also known as "Florian Geier from Giebelstadt", a Franconian nobleman who led the Black Company during the Peasants War resulting from the Protestant...

, Germany, 29 April - 20 August 1946
60th Troop Carrier Group
60th Air Mobility Wing
The 60th Air Mobility Wing is the host unit at Travis Air Force Base in California. It is the largest air mobility organization in the United States Air Force and is responsible for strategic airlift and aerial refueling missions around the world...

Kaufbeuren
Kaufbeuren
Kaufbeuren is an independent city in the Regierungsbezirk of Schwaben, southern Bavaria. The city is completely enclaved within the district of Ostallgäu.- Culture and Objects of Interest :* Townhall * Crescentiakloster...

, Germany, 1 July 1948
Faßberg RAF Station
RAF Fassberg
The former Royal Air Force Station Fassberg, more commonly known as RAF Fassberg, was a Royal Air Force airbase in Germany situated in the northern suburbs of Fassberg, Lower Saxony...

, Germany, 20 January 1949 - 1 October 1949
Wiesbaden AB
Wiesbaden Army Airfield
Wiesbaden Army Airfield or WAAF is located southeast of the city of Wiesbaden, Hessen, Germany. It was selected as the site for Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe on 28 September 1945, in large part due to its proximity to Frankfurt am Main, where the U.S. Seventh Army was...

, West Germany, 1 October 1949 - 2 June 1951
61st Troop Carrier Group
61st Air Base Wing
The 61st Air Base Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California....

Rhein-Main AFB (later, AB)
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, Germany, 1 July 1948 - 2 June 1951
(Unit operated Rhein-Main AB
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, Germany, 1 July 1948 - 2 June 1951, and Templehof AB
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

, Germany, 1 July - 5 November 1948. Also operated Tulln Airport in Austria, 1 July - 10 December 1948)

78th Fighter Group
78th Air Base Wing
The 78th Air Base Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The 78th ABW acts as the host unit at Robins.-Mission:...

Straubing
Straubing
Straubing is an independent city in Lower Bavaria, southern Germany. It is seat of the district of Straubing-Bogen. Annually in August the Gäubodenvolksfest, the second largest fair in Bavaria, is held....

, Germany, 20 August 1946 - June 1947
86th Fighter Group
86th Airlift Wing
The 86th Airlift Wing is a United States Air Force wing, currently assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The 86th AW is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany-Mission:...

Neubiberg
Neubiberg
Neubiberg is a municipality south-east of Munich, Germany, founded in 1912. It used to have an airport that was used as a Luftwaffe-base in the Third Reich and after the war as an U.S. airbase and in the following years as the German Air Force officer school. Today the largest part of the area is...

, West Germany, 1 July 1948 - 21 August 1952
306th Bombardment Group
306th Flying Training Group
The 306th Flying Training Group is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force...

Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt is a municipality in the district of Würzburg in Bavaria in Germany.History of GiebelstadtThe town is the birthplace of Florian Geyer , also known as "Florian Geier from Giebelstadt", a Franconian nobleman who led the Black Company during the Peasants War resulting from the Protestant...

, Germany, December 1945 - February 1946
Fürstenfeldbruck
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

, Germany, 16 August - 13 September 1946
Lechfeld, Germany, 13 September - 25 December 1946
344th Bombardment Group
126th Air Refueling Wing
The United States Air Force's 126th Air Refueling Wing is a Illinois Air National Guard air refueling wing located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois....

Oberschleißheim
Oberschleißheim
Oberschleißheim is a municipality in the district of Munich, in Bavaria, Germany. It is located 13 km north of Munich . As of 2005 it had a population of 11,467....

, Germany, 15 September 1945 - 15 February 1946
355th Fighter Group
355th Fighter Wing
The 355th Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command's Twelfth Air Force. It is stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, where in operates the A-10 Thunderbolt II...

Gablingen
Gablingen
Gablingen is a municipality in the district of Augsburg in Bavaria in Germany....

, Germany, 3 July 1945 - 15 April 1946
357th Fighter Group
357th Fighter Group
The 357th Fighter Group was an air combat unit of the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. The 357th operated P-51 Mustang aircraft as part of the U.S. Eighth Air Force and its members were known unofficially as "The Yoxford Boys" after a village near their base...

Neubiberg
Neubiberg
Neubiberg is a municipality south-east of Munich, Germany, founded in 1912. It used to have an airport that was used as a Luftwaffe-base in the Third Reich and after the war as an U.S. airbase and in the following years as the German Air Force officer school. Today the largest part of the area is...

, Germany, 21 July 1945 - 20 August 1946
366th Fighter Group
366th Fighter Wing
The 366th Fighter Wing is a Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho...

Munster/Handorf
Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

, Germany, 11 April - 25 June 1945
Bayreuth/Bindlach, Germany, 25 June - 14 September 1945
Fritzlar
Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

, Germany, 14 September 1945 - 20 August 1946
368th Fighter Group
136th Airlift Wing
The United States Air Force's 136th Airlift Wing is an airlift unit located at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. The wing operates the Lockheed C-130H cargo/transport aircraft and is the parent unit of the 181st Airlift Squadron.-Mission:...

Rhein-Main AB
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, Germany, 15 April 1945 - 13 May 1946
Buchschwabach, Germany, 13 May - 13 August 1945
Straubing
Straubing
Straubing is an independent city in Lower Bavaria, southern Germany. It is seat of the district of Straubing-Bogen. Annually in August the Gäubodenvolksfest, the second largest fair in Bavaria, is held....

, Germany, 13 August 1945 - 20 August 1946
394th Bombardment Group
394th Bombardment Group
The 394th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the XII Fighter Command stationed at AAF Station Kitzingen, Germany. It was inactivated on 15 February 1946...

Kitzingen
Kitzingen
Kitzingen is a town in the German state of Bavaria, capital of the district Kitzingen. It is part of Franconia geographical region and has around 21,000 inhabitants.Surrounded by vineyards, Kitzingen County is the largest wine producer in Bavaria...

, Germany, September 1945 - 15 February 1946
406th Bombardment Group
406th Air Expeditionary Wing
The 406th Air Expeditionary Wing is a provisional unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe.The wing was reactivated in early 2003 as a provisional wing to be used as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom , based in Turkey. When Turkey refused to allow its territory to be used as part of...

Handorf
Handorf
Handorf is a municipality in the district of Lüneburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany....

, Germany, 15 April - 9 June 1945
Nordholz
Nordholz
Nordholz is a municipality in the district of Cuxhaven, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated approx. 25 km north of Bremerhaven, and 12 km southwest of Cuxhaven.Nordholz belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180...

, Germany, 5 June 1945 - 20 August 1946

In addition, USAFE commanded the European Air Transport Service (EATS), which controlled some C-46 and C-47 transport squadrons.

USAFE also controlled Templehof Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

 (Various units until 1 July 1948, 7350th Air Base Group 1 July 1948 -) in Berlin which functioned as an airport for personnel and cargo in the American Zone of the occupied former Third Reich capital and Tulln Airport (516th Troop Carrier Group), near Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, the Four-Power occupied capital of Austria.

There were also some scattered units (mostly transport squadrons and some administrative flights) in England and France.

Note: Germany used until 7 October 1949. West Germany used after that date due to establishment of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) by the Soviet Union.

A major mission for the postwar USAFE was Operation Lusty
Operation Lusty
Operation LUSTY was the United States Army Air Forces effort to capture and evaluate German aeronautical technology during and after World War II.- Overview :During World War II, the U.S...

, in which former Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 jet aircraft, such as the Messerschmitt Me 262
Messerschmitt Me 262
The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems prevented the aircraft from attaining operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944...

 and Heinkel He 162
Heinkel He 162
The Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger was a German single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe in World War II. Designed and built quickly, and made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritised for other aircraft, the He 162 was nevertheless the fastest of...

 were located on various airfields around Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and shipped to the United States for inspection and evaluation. At the Lechfeld air base near Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

, large numbers of Me 262s were discovered but also valuable German air-to-air rockets. At the Oberpfaffenhofen air base near Munich, USAFE found a high-speed Dornier Do 335
Dornier Do 335
The Dornier Do 335 Pfeil was a World War II heavy fighter built by the Dornier company. The two-seater trainer version was also called Ameisenbär . The Pfeils performance was much better than other twin-engine designs due to its unique "push-pull" layout and the much lower drag of the in-line...

. This propeller-driven aircraft could reach a speed of 760 km/h, about 100 km slower than the Me 262 jet fighter. Other former Luftwaffe aircraft were collected and simply sent to blast furnaces for metal recycling.

Elevation to MAJCOM

In March 1946, USAAF Chief General Carl Spaatz
Carl Spaatz
Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz GBE was an American World War II general and the first Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He was of German descent.-Early life:...

 had undertaken a major re-organization of the postwar USAAF that had included the establishment of Major Commands (MAJCOM), who would report directly to HQ United States Army Air Forces. In the United States, three MAJCOMs were established: Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 (SAC), to provide a long-range striking force capable of bombardment operations in any part of the world; Air Defense Command (ADC), to defend the United States against attack from the air; and Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command of the United States Air Force, established on 21 March 1946 being headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia...

 (TAC), to support the operations of ground forces.

In addition to its commands in the United States, the USAAF established four MAJCOMS for its forces overseas, the Far East Air Forces (FEAF); United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE); Caribbean Air Command (CAC), and Alaskan Air Command
Alaskan Air Command
Alaskan Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force Major Command. Established in 1945 under the United States Army Air Forces, its mission was to organize and administer the air defense system of Alaska, exercise direct control of all active measures, and coordinate all passive means of...

 (AAC) for the various areas of operations worldwide.

With the establishment of the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 on 18 September 1947, the USAAF major command structure was retained. However, a further reorganization of the command structure occurred in July 1948 when the chain of command was modified. The Numbered Air Forces (NAF) (ex: Eighth Air Force, Ninth Air Force) were assigned a subordinate role to the MAJCOMs; the World War II Commands (ex: VIII Fighter, XXII Bomber) were eliminated, with the World War II Wings being redesignated Air Divisions (AD) reporting to the NAF. A new Wing echelon was established, with one or more similarly designated groups (ex: 393d Bomb Group, 44th Fighter Group) as its components. Squadrons reported to group commanders, each composed of one or more flights.

Although changes and expansion have occurred over the years, the United States Air Force has retained this basic hierarchical organization
Hierarchical organization
A hierarchical organization is an organizational structure where every entity in the organization, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity. This arrangement is a form of a hierarchy. In an organization, the hierarchy usually consists of a singular/group of power at the top with...

al structure.

An uneasy peace

Concerned about the massive drawdown of USAFE and the United States Army in Europe (USAREUR), The US High Commissioner for Germany (USHCG), John J. McCloy
John J. McCloy
John Jay McCloy was a lawyer and banker who served as Assistant Secretary of War during World War II, president of the World Bank and U.S. High Commissioner for Germany...

 had grave concerns that there would be insufficient troops to enforce the peaceful transition in his zone of occupation. The United States' European wartime allies, Britain and France, had also rapidly demobilized.

The other major World War II ally, the Soviet Union, had quite different goals during these immediate postwar years. Its main goal was to force the United States, France and Britain out of the four-power divided cities of Berlin and Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. Secondary goals were to conquer Turkey and Greece through communist proxy-inspired civil wars. The longer term Soviet goal was to eventually force the western powers completely out of Austria and the western-occupied zones of Germany, eventually making all of Western Europe, including France and Italy into communist states largely controlled by Moscow.

In response to concerns about Soviet activities, the US began a series of reconnaissance flights over Soviet-controlled territory in Germany that led to numerous skirmishes and high tensions. During the War, American photographic and observation groups in England routinely carried out photo recon flights over Germany. When these flights were resumed after the war, the purpose of these flights was aerial intelligence and mapping. Between the autumn of 1945 and 1947, USAFE carried out a series of projects to map areas in west and central Europe, North Africa and Atlantic Islands for future military use in Operation Casey Jones.

Casey Jones flights were made by RB-24 Liberators and RB-17 Flying Fortresses converted for photographic use. These flights were only supposed to be flown over the Western Allies occupation zones, but there is a strong suspicion that these aircraft also operated over the Soviet zone. As was likely, Soviet fighters regularly opened fire on American aircraft operating over their occupation zone. On April 22, 1946, an American C-47 near the Tulln Air Base near Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 over the Soviet zone of Austria was attacked by Soviet Bell P-39 Airacobra fighters. On August 9, Yugoslavian fighters opened fire on a C-47 and forced it to land.

Tensions with the Soviet Union began as early as 1945 at the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 and the disagreement between the western Allies and the Soviet Union over the status of Poland. Also the western Allies were particularly agitated by the Soviet expansionist drive in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and Rumania and also threatened Hungary. Also, in violation of the agreement with the Allies, Russian troops still occupied parts of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and the Russians were putting pressure on Turkey and Greece in order to gain control of the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 and a passage to the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 from the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

.

Also, by 1947, the U.S. had serious concerns that the governments of France and Italy would be taken over by their internal communist political parties. The best option for preventing a communist takeover was to create strong, financially stable countries. To revive the economies of Europe, the United States offered a comprehensive economic aid program in June 1947, known as the "Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

" after the then-United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, George C. Marshall.

The Marshall Plan achieved great success in Western Europe but the Soviets remained steadfast in their goal of communist domination.

Transition of USAFE to combat readiness

The Russian activity in Eastern Europe formed the basis of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's speech on 5 March 1946 in Fulton, Missouri
Fulton, Missouri
Fulton is a city in Callaway County, Missouri, the United States of America. It is part of the Jefferson City, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 12,790 in the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Callaway County...

, where he spoke of an "Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

" being drawn from Stettin on the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, to Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 on the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

. President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 decided to take a hard line with Russia, lest the situation evolve into a new war. Truman wanted no more compromises. The United States refused to acknowledge the communist regimes in Rumania and Bulgaria; demanded Russian troops leave Iran immediately and demanded an agreement with Russia over the payment of Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 debts.

Militarily, the United States established a Mediterranean Fleet, and retained its World War II bases in Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. In Germany, the former Luftwaffe airfields at Furstenfeldbruck near Munich; Giebelstadt near Würzburg and Rhein-Main near Frankfurt were rebuilt to accommodate B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 bombers. In addition, the B-50 Superfortress
B-50 Superfortress
The Boeing B-50 Superfortress strategic bomber was a post-World War II revision of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, fitted with more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial engines, stronger structure, a taller fin, and other improvements. It was the last piston-engined bomber designed by Boeing for...

 (an enhancement of the wartime B-29) was put into production. The B-50A had a range of nearly 7,000 kilometers and was fully Atomic Bomb capable. Preparations were also made to produce the B-36 Peacemaker, an intercontinental bomber developed for very long range missions to Japan from the United States, that could be used to reach targets deep inside the Soviet Union from the United States.

President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 also decided to realign USAFE into a combat-capable force. SAC wanted its B-29 fleet as close to the Soviet Union as possible because of their limited range. It was decided to permanently station them in Europe. In November 1946 six B-29
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 bombers from SAC
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

's 43d Bombardment Group
43d Airlift Wing
The 43rd Airlift Group is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Pope Army Airfield, part of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.The 43 AG performs en route operations support at Pope AAF to include mission command & control, aircrew management, aircraft maintenance, aircraft loading, aircraft fueling...

 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located within the city limits, and approximately south-southeast of downtown, Tucson, Arizona....

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 were deployed to RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood was a Royal Air Force station in England, 2 miles north-west of Warrington, Lancashire. During World War II and the Cold War it was used by the United States Air Force and was also known as USAAF station 590.- Overview :...

, England and from there to various bases in Germany as a "training deployment".

From Germany and England, the B-29s were flown to bases in France, Turkey, Greece and were flown along the borders of Bulgaria and Russia over the Black Sea to "show the flag". In May 1947, SAC stationed a number of B-29s in Germany at Giebelstadt and Furstenfeldbruck. This series of deployments ("training deployments", as they were called at the time) were intended to give SAC pilots the opportunity to gain flight experience in Europe. To keep up the pretense of a training program, these B-29 squadrons were constantly rotated back to the United States, being replaced with new squadrons.

The factual aim of these B-29 deployments were to have a strategic air force permanently stationed in Europe. SAC also deployed Boeing B-29 Superfortresses to the United Kingdom where they performed rotational deployments to Royal Air Force bases such as RAF Marham
RAF Marham
Royal Air Force Station Marham, more commonly known as RAF Marham, is a Royal Air Force station; a military airbase, near the village of Marham in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia....

, RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England.-Formation:Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance....

, RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

 and RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

.

Military aid by the United States was also provided to the Greek Air Force to help the nation resist the communists trying to overthrow the Greek Government. AT-6 Texans and C-47 transport aircraft, along with armored vehicles, small arms weapons, munitions and RADAR were provided. In Turkey, various intelligence gathering aircraft were deployed along the northern Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast, providing the United States intelligence about the Soviet Republics of Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Gruzia. Overflights over the Soviet Union were also performed.

The Berlin Airlift

The Berlin Airlift was one of the defining events of and marked the beginning of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The 464-day effort to supply a city's needs solely through the air demonstrated the resolve of democratic nations to oppose communist repression. The massive humanitarian effort was an early triumph for the young United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, and symbolized Western commitment to rebuilding democracy in Europe after World War II.
Overview

In 1945 the Soviets, Americans, British and French divided Germany into occupation zones. Berlin, although in the Soviet zone, also was divided among the four powers. With the removal of the Nazi government in 1945, the governing body of Germany was the Allied Control Council
Allied Control Council
The Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, known in the German language as the Alliierter Kontrollrat and also referred to as the Four Powers , was a military occupation governing body of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany after the end of World War II in Europe...

 (ACC), in which all four Allies participated.

Opposing political systems and goals strained relationships between the Soviets and their recent allies as the American, British and French prepared western Germany to govern itself. By 1948, Germany had become a major pawn in Allied efforts to prevent the westward march of communism. The Soviets pushed the Allies for reparations from western Germany's industrial plants, though this had not been agreed to. Predictably, President Truman refused to give the Soviet Union reparations and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 responded with a Soviet withdrawal from the ACC on 20 March 1948.

With the withdrawal from the ACC, the Soviet Union established checkpoints on the land transit route to Berlin to seriously delay western road traffic in an effort to force the western Allies out of the city, located deep within the Soviet zone of occupation. Protests by the western Allies fell on deaf ears.

On June 18, 1948, the three Western sectors agreed on a new common German currency, coming into force on June 20, that ended the use of occupation currency and introduced the Deutsche Mark. This was a way of putting pressure on the Soviet Union for the reunification of Germany and to spur the German reconstruction. The Soviets objected to this move. Having been invaded twice by Germany in the preceding three decades, they wanted Germany demilitarized like Japan before a reunification should take place. The Soviets also considered this move a breach of agreements reached at the 1945 Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, which stated that Germany would be treated as one economic unit.

In response to the currency reform action by the West, on 23 June the Soviets cut off electrical power to a large part of the western sectors of Berlin. Previously, the Soviets destroyed a large, nearly new power station during their stay in the British sector shortly after the war, and there were only a few very old and obsolete power stations operating in the western sectors. The water supply was also affected because the pumps received very little electricity to pump water from the city's wells.

The next day, June 24 the Soviet Union blocked western all road, rail and barge access going through the Soviet occupation zone of Germany that connected to the three Western-held sectors of Berlin. The Western powers had never negotiated a pact with the Soviets guaranteeing these access rights to Berlin, which lay deep inside the Soviet Zone. Also, amid the fallout of the London Conference, the Soviets now rejected western arguments of their occupation rights in Berlin and the western use of the routes during the previous three years which had given the West a legal claim to unimpeded use of the highways and railroads.
USAF mobilization

General Lucius D. Clay
Lucius D. Clay
General Lucius Dubignon Clay was an American officer and military governor of the United States Army known for his administration of Germany immediately after World War II. Clay was deputy to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945; deputy military governor, Germany 1946; commander in chief, U.S....

, the United States Military Governor General in Germany, reacted by sharply criticizing the Soviet Union's attempt to create mass famine in Berlin to force the western Allies out of the city. Clay recommended to President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 that an armed convoy be dispatched from the Allied-controlled western Germany to break the roadblocks by force. The consensus from Washington was that the Soviet Union would react violently to an armed effort to break the roadblocks and possibly lead to war. Also it was clear that USAFE's Tactical Air Force was far too small to play a role of any significance if an armed conflict broke out. Preference was given to supplying Berlin by air, as the Soviet blockade had little effect on the three air corridors which were used to fly into Berlin.

With the announcement of the Berlin Airlift, the Soviet Union did not initially interfere with the cargo aircraft flying to Berlin, as they were convinced that supplying two million Berliners by air was an impossible task, even for the United States. In this belief, the Soviets made a serious mistake.

At the dawn of the Cold War, USAFE strength was low both in quantity and quality. The command consisted of 485 aircraft of various types consisting of two C-47 troop carrier groups (60th, 61st) assigned to the European Air Transport Service (EATS) at Rhein-Main
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

 and Wiesbaden Air Bases near Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 and some P-47s with the 86th Fighter Group
86th Airlift Wing
The 86th Airlift Wing is a United States Air Force wing, currently assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The 86th AW is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany-Mission:...

 at Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base is a former German and United States Air Force airfield which was closed in 1991. It is located 9 km south of the city of Munich, Germany....

 near Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

.

On the morning of 26 June, two days after the blockade began, the first C-47 loaded with milk and medicine took off from Wiesbaden Air Base for Tempelhof Air Base
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

 in Berlin. A total of 32 flights were made on that first day. Far too little, because it would take many hundreds of cargo flights each day to provide the 12,000 tons of food, fuel, clothing and medicine it was estimated was necessary to sustain the two million people of western Berlin. There were simply not enough C-47s available, as it was estimated that over 900 would be needed to fly the necessary tonnage to Berlin each day. However, if the larger C-54 Skymaster
C-54 Skymaster
The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces and British forces in World War II and the Korean War. Besides transport of cargo, it also carried presidents, British heads of government, and military staff...

 was used, about 180 could supply the cargo necessary. However, there simply weren't that many aircraft available. The Military Air Transport Service
Military Air Transport Service
The Military Air Transport Service is an inactive Department of Defense Unified Command. Activated on 1 June 1948, MATS was a consolidation of the United States Navy Naval Air Transport Service and the United States Air Force Air Transport Command into a single, joint, unified command...

 (MATS) was ordered to mobilize all available C-54s and C-82 wherever they could in the world to support the airlift, and to refurbish as many as possible of the C-47s presently in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB for airlift duty. The C-74 Globemaster
C-74 Globemaster
The Douglas C-74 Globemaster was a United States heavy-lift cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California.The Globemaster was developed after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The long distances across the Atlantic, and especially the Pacific Ocean to the combat...

 was also considered for use, as its massive cargo carrying capacity would drastically reduce the number of flights and aircraft necessary. However, the aircraft's landing requirements far exceeded what was available in Berlin, and it was unsafe to land it on the short runways. The C-74, however did support the Berlin Airlift by flying cargo from the United States to staging bases in Europe.

To enhance USAFE's tactical air strength, in July 1948 75 Lockheed F-80B Shooting Stars were transferred to Germany with the 36th Fighter Group
36th Wing
The United States Air Force's 36th Wing is the host wing for Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. It is part of United States Pacific Air Forces Thirteenth Air Force...

, being assigned to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

, near Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. This move considerably increased USAFE's tactical airpower, but also was considered as having great psychological value.

In August 1948, 10 C-54s finally arrived in Germany to begin airlift service. In addition, civilian DC-4s, the civil name of the C-54 were loaned to the Air Force for airlift duty. The United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 provided 21 R-5Ds, their version of the C-54 as well. The airfields at Rhein-Main and Wiesbaden began to start filling to capacity with planes, and the decision was made to use the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 airfields at Celle
Celle
Celle is a town and capital of the district of Celle, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town is situated on the banks of the River Aller, a tributary of the Weser and has a population of about 71,000...

 and Faßberg
RAF Fassberg
The former Royal Air Force Station Fassberg, more commonly known as RAF Fassberg, was a Royal Air Force airbase in Germany situated in the northern suburbs of Fassberg, Lower Saxony...

 for transport of cargo to Berlin.

USAFE airlifted more than 2.3 million tons of food, fuel and medical supplies with the aid of the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

.
SAC mobilization

The Berlin Airlift taxed existing USAF resources of cargo aircraft, aircraft engines, skilled aircrews, and maintenance personnel. Unfortunately most American citizens believed that the vast airpower created during World War II still existed within the new peacetime Air Force. This was a totally false assumption that would be proven during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

.

To give armed support to these flights, the USAF activated the 3rd Air Division
Third Air Force
The Third Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe . It is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....

 in England. Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 had begun rotating B-29 squadrons to Europe beginning in 1946, however with the advent of the Berlin crisis, SAC stationed two squadrons to Goose Bay Air Base
CFB Goose Bay
Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay , is a Canadian Forces Base located in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador....

 in Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

, Canada where they were held in readiness for quick deployment to Europe. It was hoped that the stationing of the atomic bomb capable bombers would have a deterrent effect on the Soviets. From Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt
Giebelstadt is a municipality in the district of Würzburg in Bavaria in Germany.History of GiebelstadtThe town is the birthplace of Florian Geyer , also known as "Florian Geier from Giebelstadt", a Franconian nobleman who led the Black Company during the Peasants War resulting from the Protestant...

 and Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

s, the B-29s could easily reach Moscow. On the other hand, putting the B-29s so close to the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, and within range of Soviet aircraft in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 carried a significant safety risk. All things considered, it was decided not to send the bombers to Germany, but to Royal Air Force bases in Britain where they would be less vulnerable.

The 28th
28th Bomb Wing
The 28th Bomb Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force. It is stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota...

 and 307th Bombardment Groups were deployed to the newly activated Third Air Force station at RAF Marham
RAF Marham
Royal Air Force Station Marham, more commonly known as RAF Marham, is a Royal Air Force station; a military airbase, near the village of Marham in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia....

. The RAF had made several other airfields available to the USAF, including RAF Scampton
RAF Scampton
Royal Air Force Station Scampton is a Royal Air Force station situated north of Lincoln in England, near the village of Scampton, on the site of an old First World War landing field.-First World War:...

, RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington
RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshire, England.-Formation:Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance....

, and RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

. Lakenheath was also large enough to accommodate the largest USAF bomber, the B-36 Peacemaker which was beginning to be deployed to the 7th Bombardment Group
7th Bomb Wing
The 7th Bomb Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force. It is stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, where it is also the host unit....

 at Carswell AFB, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. Although the group was not yet Operationally Ready, if necessary it could be used in case an armed conflict broke out with the Soviet Union.
Triumph of Tegel Airfield


After several months of airlift operations, it was clear that the two freight facilities in Berlin, Gatow
RAF Gatow
Known for most of its operational life as Royal Air Force Station Gatow, or more commonly RAF Gatow, this former British Royal Air Force military airbase is in the district of Gatow in south-western Berlin, west of the Havel river, in the borough of Spandau...

 (In the British Sector) and Templehof
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

 (In the US Sector) were just too small for the volume of supplies being transported. They could not cope with the number of takeoffs and landings, but the associated infrastructure was not built to cope with the thousands of tons of freight per day. A third airfield was absolutely needed. A suitable site was found in the Reinickendorf
Reinickendorf
Reinickendorf is the twelfth borough of Berlin. It encompasses the northwest of the city area, including the Berlin-Tegel Airport, Lake Tegel, spacious settlements of detached houses as well as housing estates like Märkisches Viertel.-Subdivision:...

 suburb in the French Sector which had been used as a training field for the Luftwaffe and was presently unused.

Construction of Tegel Airfield began on 5 August 1948. This involved the construction of a 5500 feet (1,676.4 m) runway, 6020 feet (1,834.9 m) of taxiway, 4400 feet (1,341.1 m) of access road, 2750 feet (838.2 m) of access railroad and over one million square feet of apron area used for unloading operations and aircraft parking. Rubble from bombed-out buildings was cleared and 17,000 German workers were hired, working in teams around the clock seven days a week in the construction of Tegel Airfield. The greater part of the runway and taxiways were constructed using shattered brick debris from the destroyed buildings of Berlin, then paved over with asphalt, which had been flown into Berlin using 10,000 55-gallon drums. Largely hand-built due to a lack of heavy construction equipment, Tegel was literally pounded by hand out of the ground.

Amazingly, by the middle of November 1948, the runway was operational and could handle the C-54 and C-47 transport aircraft. Operations at Tegel during the first two weeks were slowed due to a serious landing hazard posed by the transmitter towers of the Soviet controlled Berliner Radfunk radio station. The studios and offices were in the Soviet Sector, but the transmitter and towers were actually located in the French Sector. The Soviets had refused requests to relocate the towers. On 15 December 1948, the French resolved the issue by physically removing Soviet radio personnel from the tower area and destroying the towers with explosives.
Soviet reaction

After a few months it was clear to the Soviets that the Americans were succeeding in supplying the western sectors of Berlin with the minimal amount of supplies necessary to sustain it. Mock attacks by Soviet Air Force
Soviet Air Force
The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as Военно-воздушные силы or Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily and often abbreviated VVS was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces...

 fighters began in the air corridors to scare the American pilots caused great confusion and considerably increased the danger of air collisions. Also as many Yakovlev
Yakovlev
The Yak Aircraft Corporation is a Russian aircraft designer and manufacturer...

 and Lavochkin
Lavochkin
NPO Lavochkin is a Russian aerospace company. It is a major player in the Russian space program, being the developer and manufacturer of the Fregat upper stage, as well as interplanetary probes such as Phobos Grunt...

 fighters as possible were assembled around Berlin and then flown en masse in a westerly direction though the corridors. Near the western border of the Soviet occupation zone, they peeled off and flew along the zone border to the next corridor so they could fly back to Berlin along it, against the traffic, to their airfields around Berlin. Western radio frequencies were jammed and chaff was released to confuse radar operators. Searchlights were shone on aircraft in the corridors at night. By the spring of 1949, USAFE announced that there were incidents of Soviets firing at cargo aircraft with anti-aircraft artillery, and of barrage balloons being allowed to float within the corridors. Fortunately, no serious aircraft accidents occurred as a result of this Soviet intimidation.
Airlift completed

The efforts of many hundreds of pilots and the many thousands of military and German civilians involved in the airlift kept the people of Berlin free of communist rule. On one day, the Berlin Airlift delivered nearly 13,000 tons of provisions with almost 1,400 flights. So great was the stream of aircraft that an aircraft landed almost once a minute at one of the three western Berlin airfields. The continuous engine noise of the aircraft stream of heavy transports on their way to Berlin not only made an impression on the citizens of Berlin, but on the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union came to realize that the blockade of Berlin would not achieve the desired political effect they wished. On 12 May 1949, the Soviet blockade was lifted. However airlift operated at a reduced level until the end of September to insure adequate supplies were available in Berlin in case of a re-imposition of the blockade.

This was not a victory for the Allied Forces, but a victory by all of the citizens of Berlin. These were citizens who braved the hardships, the hunger and the cold. These were the citizens who toiled long hours unloading aircraft and making new runways. Berlin was no longer the defeated, demoralized capital of a vanquished foe. The new West Berlin was a city, emerged from the rubble, unified and proud of its peoples' accomplishments. Berliners had earned their right to celebrate and stand among the free people of the world.

The Soviet Union had lost the first skirmish of the Cold War.

The formation of NATO

With the increase of tensions between the West and Soviet Union, discussions led to a multinational defense agreement. The Treaty of Brussels
Treaty of Brussels
The Treaty of Brussels was signed on 17 March 1948 between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as an expansion to the preceding year's defence pledge, the Dunkirk Treaty signed between Britain and France...

, signed on March 17, 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union. However, American participation was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.

These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty
North Atlantic Treaty
The North Atlantic Treaty is the treaty that brought NATO into existence, signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. The original twelve nations that signed it and thus became the founding members of NATO were:...

, which was signed in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on February 18, 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined. In 1955, West Germany was also granted membership.

A central NATO defense strategy was the use of tactical air power to offset the Soviet Union with NATO membership, the United States was committed to help defend Western Europe and USAFE again strengthened its airpower.

1950s

When the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 began June 25, 1950, the USAF had been an independent branch of the U.S. military establishment for less than three years, and was very small and ill-equipped for its assigned worldwide missions. The Air Force Chief of Staff, General Hoyt S. Vandenburg, later stated that in the summer of 1950 we had "a shoestring Air Force". A serious shortage of combat aircraft began to develop by the fall of 1950.

Even with the active war in Korea raging, in the early 1950s, Europe received a higher priority of air power than Korea by the Truman Administration and the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

. Deterring the threat of a Communist takeover of Western Europe was considered more important to the United States' long-term survival than defeating Communism in Korea.

In September 1950, NATO's Military Committee had called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the Atlantic Council in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, which had established a goal of ultimately fielding 96 divisions in the event of a conventional war in 1954. In support of this, USAFE, which consisted of 16 wings totaling 2,100 aircraft, was programmed to expand to 28 wings, 22 of them in NATO's Central Region alone, backed by deployed Strategic Air Command units sent from CONUS.

The USAF transferred thirteen combat wings from its Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command of the United States Air Force, established on 21 March 1946 being headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia...

 plus one air depot wing from Air Material Command, and relocated the units to USAFE during the period from April 1951 through December 1954. Eight wings were regular Air Force wings, four wings were federalized Air National Guard
Air National Guard
The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

 units, and one wing was a mobilized Air Force Reserve unit.

Four of these wings deployed to the United Kingdom, three into West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

, and six wings were deployed to France. These wings gave USAFE/NATO approximately 500 fighters, 100 light bombers, 100 tactical reconnaissance aircraft, 100 tactical airlift transports, and 18,000 personnel.

Along with these new units from the United States, existing USAFE bases in West Germany were realigned to be moved west of the Rhein River. Existing bases in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 (Erding Air Depot, Furstenfeldbruck, Landsberg, Kaufbeuren and Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base is a former German and United States Air Force airfield which was closed in 1991. It is located 9 km south of the city of Munich, Germany....

s) were deemed too vulnerable to Soviet attack and were closed by 1960.

In 1955, the force structure was as follows:
  • United Kingdom:
RAF Alconbury
RAF Alconbury
RAF Alconbury is an active Royal Air Force station in Cambridgeshire, England. The airfield is adjacent to the Stukeleys [Great and Little] and located about northwest of Huntingdon; about north of London....

 86th Bombardment Squadron
86th Flying Training Squadron
The 86th Flying Training Squadron is part of the 47th Flying Training Wing based at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. It operates T-1 Jayhawk aircraft conducting flight training.-History:...

RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters, now known as Bentwaters Parks, is a former Royal Air Force station about 80 miles NE of London, 10 miles ENE of Ipswich, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in England...

 81st Fighter-Interceptor Wing
81st Training Wing
The 81st Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The 81st Training Wing has the Air Force’s largest Technical Training Group and trains more than 40,000 students annually...

RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood was a Royal Air Force station in England, 2 miles north-west of Warrington, Lancashire. During World War II and the Cold War it was used by the United States Air Force and was also known as USAAF station 590.- Overview :...

 59th Air Depot Wing
59th Medical Wing
The 59th Medical Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force assigned to Air Education and Training Command, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas....

RAF Manston
RAF Manston
RAF Manston was an RAF station in the north-east of Kent, at on the Isle of Thanet from 1916 until 1996. The site is now split between a commercial airport Kent International Airport and a continuing military use by the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre , following on from a long...

 123d Fighter-Bomber Wing
123d Airlift Wing
The 123d Airlift Wing is a Kentucky Air National Guard unit, part of the United States Air Force. It is located at Louisville International Airport, Kentucky.-History:...

RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth is a Royal Air Force station located near Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom with a history dating back to 1917.Its runway and flight line facilities were closed in 1973 and demolished to support ground-launched cruise missile operations in the early 1980s...

 582d Air Resupply Group
582nd Air Resupply and Communications Wing
The 582d Air Resupply and Communications Wing is an inactive United States Air Force wing. Its last duty assignment was at RAF Molesworth, England.-History:The 582d ARW was activated at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho on 24 September 1952...

RAF Sculthorpe
RAF Sculthorpe
RAF Sculthorpe is a military training facility for the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, situated about west of Fakenham in Norfolk, England...

 47th Light Bomb Wing
47th Flying Training Wing
The 47th Flying Training Wing is a United States Air Force pilot training wing based at Laughlin Air Force Base, near Del Rio, Texas...

RAF Shepherds Grove
RAF Shepherds Grove
RAF Shepherds Grove is a former Royal Air Force base in Suffolk England 9 miles NE of Bury St Edmunds.The base was built for the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force during World War II. However the facility was not used by the USAAF and was opened by 3 Group, RAF on 3 April 1944...

 78th Fighter Bomber Squadron
78th Reconnaissance Squadron
The 78th Reconnaissance Squadron is part of the Tenth Air Force, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. The 78 RS conducts operations from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in conjunction with their active-duty associates in the Air Force Warfare Center.-Mission:The mission of the...

RAF Wethersfield
RAF Wethersfield
MDPGA Wethersfield is a Ministry of Defence facility in Essex, England; it is located north of the village of Wethersfield—about north-west of the town of Braintree...

 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing
20th Fighter Wing
The 20th Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Shaw Air Force Base South Carolina. The wing is assigned to Air Combat Command's Ninth Air Force.-Mission:...

RAF Woodbridge
RAF Woodbridge
Royal Air Force Station Woodbridge, more commonly referred to as RAF Woodbridge, is a former Royal Air Force military airbase situated to the east of Woodbridge in the county of Suffolk, England...

 79th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
79th Fighter Squadron
The 79th Fighter Squadron is part of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.-History:...

  • West Germany
    West Germany
    West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

    :***
Rhein-Main AB 433d Troop Carrier Wing
433d Airlift Wing
The 433d Airlift Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force Reserve assigned to Fourth Air Force. It is stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas...

Sembach AB 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
66th Air Base Wing
The 66th Air Base Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Air Force Materiel Command Electronic Systems Center, stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts...

Hahn AB
Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
-Cargo airlines:-Other facilities:AirIT Services AG, a subsidiary of Fraport, has its head office in Building 663 at Hahn Airport.-References:*Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force,...

 50th Fighter-Bomber Wing
50th Space Wing
The 50th Space Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force under the major command of Air Force Space Command . It was activated on 30 January 1992, replacing the 2d Space Wing, which was deactivated on the same date.-Overview:...

Bitburg AB
Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Airport is a commercial airport serving Bitburg, a city in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. It is located 2 miles southeast of Bitburg, 20 miles north of Trier, and 135 miles west of Wiesbaden....

 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing
36th Wing
The United States Air Force's 36th Wing is the host wing for Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. It is part of United States Pacific Air Forces Thirteenth Air Force...

Ramstein/Landstuhl AB
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

 86th Fighter Interceptor Wing
86th Airlift Wing
The 86th Airlift Wing is a United States Air Force wing, currently assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The 86th AW is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany-Mission:...

Spangdahlem AB
Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
10th Air Base Wing
The 10th Air Base Wing is a non-flying United States Air Force unit that is the host wing for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.-Components:...

Tempelhof AB
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

 (West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

) 7350th Air Base Group
Wiesbaden AB HQ USAFE/7110 Air Base Group

  • France:
Bordeaux AB
Bordeaux-Merignac Air Base
Bordeaux-Mérignac Air Base is a former United States Air Force base in France. It is located in the Gironde département, 6 miles west of the city of Bordeaux....

 126th Light Bomb Wing
126th Air Refueling Wing
The United States Air Force's 126th Air Refueling Wing is a Illinois Air National Guard air refueling wing located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois....

Chambley AB
Chambley-Bussieres Air Base
Chambley-Bussières Air Base is a former United States Air Force base in France. It is located in the Meurthe-et-Moselle département of France, about ten miles west of the French city of Metz, and about one mile southwest of Chambley-Bussières, on the south side of the Départemental 901 ...

 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing
21st Space Wing
The 21st Space Wing is a unit of the Air Force Space Command based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The unit is tasked with the operation of early missile warning and space object detection equipment around the world in support of NORAD and USSTRATCOM through a network of command and control...

Châteauroux AD
Châteauroux-Déols Air Base
Châteauroux-Déols Air Base is a former United States Air Force base in France. It is located in the Indre département of France, located about 3 miles northeast of Châteauroux and about 1 mile northeast of Déols on the east side of the Départemental 920 road in Central France.During the Cold...

 73rd Air Depot Wing
Chaumont AB 48th Fighter-Bomber Wing
48th Fighter Wing
The 48th Fighter Wing is part of the United States Air Force Third Air Force, assigned to HQ Air Command Europe, and is based at RAF Lakenheath, England. The 48 FW is the only F-15 wing based in Europe...

Dreux AB
Dreux-Louvillier Air Base
Dreux-Louvilliers Air Base is a former United States Air Force base. It is located in the Eure-et-Loir département of France, southwest of Dreux, and about one mile west of Chennevieres; just to the west of the Départemental 20 road.During the Cold War, Dreux-Louvilliers was a front-line base...

 60th Troop Carrier Wing
60th Air Mobility Wing
The 60th Air Mobility Wing is the host unit at Travis Air Force Base in California. It is the largest air mobility organization in the United States Air Force and is responsible for strategic airlift and aerial refueling missions around the world...

Etain AB
Etain-Rouvres Air Base
Étain - Rouvres Air Base is a former USAF base in France. It is located on the Lorraine Plateau in northeastern France, 1 mile to the west of Étain; on the west side of the Départemental 906 road, adjacent to the village of Rouvres-en-Woevre in the Meuse département about 12 miles east of...

 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing
388th Fighter Wing
The 388th Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force. The unit is stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.-Mission:...

Évreux AB
Evreux-Fauville Air Base
Évreux-Fauville Air Base is a French Air Force base located about 2 miles east of the town of Évreux in the Eure département, on the north side of the Route nationale 13 Highway....

 322nd Air Division
322d Airlift Division
The 322d Airlift Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Military Airlift Command, assigned to Twenty-First Air Force, being stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany...

Laon AB
Laon-Couvron Air Base
Laon-Couvron Air Base is a former French and United States Air Force base in France. It is located in the Aisne département of France, less than one mile southeast of the village of Couvron and 6 miles northwest of Laon; on the southwest side of the Autoroute des Anglais 1 Mile east of the...

 38th Tactical Bombardment Wing
38th Combat Support Wing
The 38th Combat Support Wing is an inactive wing of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with Third Air Force , being inactivated on 1 May 2007 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....

Phalsbourg AB
Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base
Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base is a former United States Air Force base in France. It is located in the Moselle département, about 2 miles west of the town of Phalsbourg, on the north side of the Route nationale 4 Highway adjacent to the village Saint-Jean-Kourtzerode; 29 miles northwest of...

 23rd Helicopter Squadron
23d Flying Training Squadron
The 23d Flying Training Squadron is a unit of the United States Air Force, currently assigned to 58th Operations Group performing helicopter training at Fort Rucker, Alabama.-History:...

Toul AB
Toul-Rosieres Air Base
Toul-Rosières Air Base is a reserve French Air Force base. It is located in the Meurthe-et-Moselle département of France, 10 miles northeast of the city of Toul, on the west side of the Route nationale 411 Highway about one mile southeast of Rosières-en-Haye.Toul Air Base was used by American...

 465th Troop Carrier Wing
445th Airlift Wing
The 445th Airlift Wing is an operational wing of the United States Air Force Reserve. It is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio...

  • Netherlands:
Soesterberg AB
Soesterberg Air Base
Soesterberg Air Base was a Royal Netherlands Air Force military airbase located in Soesterberg, eastnortheast of Utrecht. It was first established as an airfield in 1911, and in 1913, the Dutch Army bought the field and established the Army Aviation Division.For almost 40 years, United States...

 32nd Fighter-Day Squadron
32nd Air Operations Squadron
The 32d Air Operations Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with 32d Air Operations Group, based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany...


.*** Note: Erding
Erding Air Base
Erding Air Base is a German Air Force airfield near the town of Erding, about northeast of central Munich in Bavaria...

, Fürstenfeldbruck
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base
Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base is a German Air Force airfield located near the town of Fürstenfeldbruck in Bavaria, near Munich, Germany....

, Landsberg
Landsberg-Lech Air Base
Landsberg-Lech Air Base is a German Air Force base located near the town of Landsberg am Lech in Bavaria.Landsberg is used as a transport base...

, Kaufbeuren
Kaufbeuren Air Base
Kaufbeuren Air Base is a German Air Force military airbase. It is currently the home of the Luftwaffe Technical School 1.-History:...

 and Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base
Neubiberg Air Base is a former German and United States Air Force airfield which was closed in 1991. It is located 9 km south of the city of Munich, Germany....

s, although nominally under USAF control, were being used to train German Air Force pilots. When training was complete, the bases were turned over to West German control. The last of these bases were turned over by 1960. Erding Air Base was shared by USAFE interceptors briefly in the early 1970s.

In addition, by 1960, USAFE controlled air bases in French Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Spain.

However, the dramatic disparity between Western and Soviet forces, coupled with the economic burden imposed on the West, soon worked to undermine this desire. Following Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's death in 1953, the European governments withdrew from the ambitious 96-division goal, seeing their economic circumstances as more pressing than their defense concerns. Then, in October 1953, the Eisenhower administration, desiring to minimize the size and expense of American forces both overseas and at home, adopted a "New Look" defense doctrine that emphasized strategic and tactical nuclear response to Soviet aggression, a doctrine known by the shorthand of "massive retaliation".

This doctrine, enunciated in National Security Council document NSC 162/2, stated that "in the event of hostilities the United States will consider nuclear weapons to be as available for use as other weapons." On December 17, 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether the Soviets chose to use them first, giving the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of Strategic Air Command.

In the spring of 1955, West Germany's entry into NATO prompted the Soviet Union to form its own military alliance, the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

. Within the framework of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviets could station troops in Eastern Bloc countries without the resulting political problems.

During a five-day summit conference held in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland at the end of July 1955, the Soviet Union and United States held serious talks about disarmament and the United States put forward proposals for mutual reconnaissance flights over each other's air space, known as the Open Skies proposal.

The United States had a large number of RB-47s and RB-36 recon aircraft at its disposal for such activities, however the Soviets turned down this proposal. However, this Geneva Conference was universally accepted as a turning point in the Cold War. The tensions in Europe were felt to be a stalemate; however both the Soviet Union and United States were willing to talk about their differences, rather than increase them into a state of war.

1956 Suez Crisis

The Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 was a war fought on Egyptian territory in 1956. The conflict pitted Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 against an alliance among the United Kingdom, France and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

This alliance against Egypt largely took place as a result of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

's action of nationalizing the Suez Canal Company
Suez Canal Company
The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company was the Egyptian corporation which was formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps during 1858, constructed the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869, and owned and operated it for many years thereafter...

, which operated the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, an important asset to French and British economies, particularly as a chokepoint in world oil shipments. British policy makers initially feared an Israeli attack on Egypt, and sought cooperation with the United States throughout 1956 to deal with Egyptian–Israeli tensions.

The alliance between the two European nations and Israel was largely one of convenience; the European nations had economic and trading interests in the Suez Canal, while Israel wanted to reopen the canal for Israeli shipping and end Egyptian-supported guerrilla incursions.

When the USSR threatened to intervene on behalf of Egypt, Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs
Secretary of State for External Affairs (Canada)
Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs was, from 1909 to 1993, the member of the Cabinet of Canada responsible for overseeing the federal government's international relations and the former Department of External Affairs...

 Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

 feared a larger war and came up with a clever plan to separate the opposing forces by placing United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 forces between them to act as a buffer zone or 'human shield' (he later won a Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 for his role in ending the conflict). This gave birth to the concept of UN peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 operations.

1956 Hungarian Revolution

The Soviet Union made good use of the turmoil in the West caused by the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

. On November 4, 1956, Soviet troops, who shared no sympathy for the Hungarians, invaded. While the Soviet Union justified its second intervention on the basis of responsibility to a Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 ally, in the form of the Kádár government formed on November 3, the Soviet forces allocated came from national reserves, and other Warsaw Pact countries did not supply troops.

In response, the United States deployed sixteen Convair B-36
Convair B-36
The Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" was a strategic bomber built by Convair and operated solely by the United States Air Force from 1949 to 1959. The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built , although there have...

 Peacemaker bombers to RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood
RAF Burtonwood was a Royal Air Force station in England, 2 miles north-west of Warrington, Lancashire. During World War II and the Cold War it was used by the United States Air Force and was also known as USAAF station 590.- Overview :...

, England. It is still unknown if the B-36s were armed with nuclear weapons, however it is unlikely they were deployed to Europe unarmed. SAC was also brought into a high state of readiness with several SAC "Reflex" deployments of B-47 bombers to bases in England and North Africa. The crisis passed and the SAC bombers went off alert status and returned to normal rotational deployments.

1961 Berlin Crisis

The 1961 Berlin Crisis
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 became USAFE's first test of what was known as a "Flexible Response" strategy. In the spring of 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 decided that the Soviet Union would sign a peace treaty with the East German government. In effect the German Democratic Republic would control the Russian zone of Berlin and could end joint occupation of the city. This action was a clear violation of the Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

 of 1945.

When the Western allies objected to this proposed peace treaty, Khrushchev began speaking about restricting the West's aerial access to Berlin and preventing the entry of East Germans into the city. This possibility started an exodus of Germans from the eastern zone as they rushed to leave their sector and relocate in West Germany.

Departures snowballed from a few dozen refugees daily to a flow of 4,000 per day by August 1961. On the night of August 12, 1961 the Soviet backed East German government began erecting the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 to prevent this flow of workers from communism, precipitating a new Cold War crisis that had been brewing for the previous twelve months. Berlin became a divided city. The response agreed to by the Kennedy Administration was to rapidly increase conventional tactical airpower in Europe during the summer of 1961.

This new international crisis required expansion of U.S. military forces. On August 25, 1961 the Department of Defense announced 148,000 reserve personnel would be called on October 1 for twelve months of active duty service. 27,000 of these would be from Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard
Air National Guard
The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

 flying squadrons and support units to augment the Air Force, and 112,000 were Army reservists. Many Army reservists were sent to Europe to bring ground combat units up to full strength. The Air National Guard was tasked to supply six tactical fighter wings and one tactical reconnaissance wing to expand USAFE. Also deployed to Europe was a complete ANG Tactical Control Group consisting of six Tactical Control Squadrons manned by 230 officers and 1,850 airmen having many tons of mobile ground radar and radio equipment for battlefield command and control of tactical air power.

These tactical control units were dispersed throughout West Germany. The Air Force responded with a two-phase deployment of reinforcements to Europe - the largest such overseas movement of aircraft since World War II. The first phase began on September 5 with Operation TACK HAMMER. Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command of the United States Air Force, established on 21 March 1946 being headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia...

 launched eight F-100
F-100 Super Sabre
The North American F-100 Super Sabre was a supersonic jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard until 1979. The first of the Century Series collection of USAF jet fighters, it was the first USAF fighter capable of...

D squadrons from its Composite Air Strike Force to augment USAFE strength with 144 fighters. All TACK HAMMER fighters moved across the Atlantic Ocean with air tanker refueling en route. The TACK HAMMER deployment was an interim measure until ANG units could relieve Tactical Air Command squadrons.

The second phase began with the movement of eleven Air National Guard squadrons in late October and November 1961. Operation STAIR STEP was the code name for the rapid aerial movement of the fighters to Europe. Aircraft supplied by ANG wings totaled one hundred tour F-84
F-84 Thunderjet
The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces proposal for a "day fighter", the F-84 flew in 1946...

Es, twenty RF-84Fs, seventy-eight F-86
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

Hs, and seventy-two F-104
F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

As. The majority of the fighters arrived on 4 November and amazingly had no losses en route. The F-84E and F-86Fs were considered old and obsolete aircraft even though they were only seven to nine years out of the factory. The three F-104 squadrons were activated on November 1, 1961. They disassembled their Starfighters and loaded them into MATS C-124
C-124 Globemaster II
The Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, nicknamed "Old Shakey", was a heavy-lift cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California....

s which delivered them to air bases in Germany and Spain.

The primary combat mission of the STAIR STEP units was air superiority and offensive tactical air support operations using conventional munitions to defend West Germany if a war developed over Berlin access. Upon arrival in Europe their missions consisted of command inspections, theater flying training, air-ground close support operations, gunnery training, photo missions, and air defense alert duty. Though equipped with conventional weapons, the STAIR STEP F-84F and F-86H squadrons maintained their proficiency to deliver nuclear weapons by practicing toss bombing
Toss bombing
Toss bombing is a method of bombing where the attacking aircraft pulls upwards when releasing its bomb load, giving the bomb additional time of flight by starting its ballistic path with an upward vector.The purpose of toss bombing is to compensate for the gravity drop of the...

.
By March 1962, the Berlin crisis was subsiding, and plans were being made for departure of the ANG wings from Europe. Units were to return all personnel, equipment, and aircraft to CONUS by September 1, 1962 for early release from active duty.

However, the Berlin Wall was built and a barbed wire fence with minefields extended the entire north-south length of a divided Germany. The wall effectively isolated East Germany for the next twenty-eight years. But the American, British, and French Zones still remained in Berlin and access to the city was not challenged again. TACK HAMMER and STAIR STEP forces had served their purpose; their rapid deployment to France had unequivocally demonstrated the United States' determination to defend Berlin. It is possible that the sudden appearance of 170 tactical fighters with nuclear weapon delivery capability changed Khrushchev's attitude toward his Berlin "settlement."

Beginning about 1963 due to the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, USAFE/NATO's total strength steadily declined, as the U.S. reduced forces in Europe to fight a limited war in Southeast Asia for ten years.

French withdrawal from NATO

On March 7, 1966, French President Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 announced that France would withdraw from NATO's integrated military structure but not leave the political organization. He gave NATO forces one year (until April 1, 1967) to depart France.

The United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

, Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

, and Air Force carefully managed the news about the American departure from France, and the attendant problems of an integrated NATO air defense for western Europe and the decrease in tactical airpower. Fortunately for State and DOD, the media was focusing on Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, so the removal of NATO forces from France went virtually unreported in the US.

During 1966-67 all USAF offices and facilities in France were closed and personnel and equipment moved to other NATO countries. The last USAFE activities were the 1630th Air Base Squadron at Orly Airport and the Paris Administration Office. Both were closed in June 1967. A C-47 variant, the C-117B "Super Skytrain"
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

 Serial 45-2549 departed from Orly on May 31, 1967. That was the last USAF aircraft to depart France.

On October 23, 1967, all foreign flags were furled and after 17 years all NATO forces departed France. With the French departure, a major reorganization of USAFE was needed. On May 2, 1967, the US Department of Defense announced that due to the loss of the French bases, the 49th TFW's three squadrons at Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

 and the 417th TFS of the 50th TFW at Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base was a frontline NATO facility in Germany for over 40 years during the Cold War...

 plus several thousands of the troops stationed in West Germany would be recalled to the US. Although the squadrons were relocated to the US, they were still part of the USAFE's permanent force. According to the Pentagon this new strategy followed the so-called dual-basing principle which meant that the squadrons in the US were held in such a state of readiness that they could return to their European bases at any given moment without lengthy preparations being necessary.

During 1967, the 49th TFW's three squadrons flew back to the US where they were stationed at Holloman Air Force Base
Holloman Air Force Base
Holloman Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located six miles southwest of the central business district of Alamogordo, a city in Otero County, New Mexico, United States. The base was named in honor of Col. George V. Holloman, a pioneer in guided missile research...

 in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. The 417th TFS did not return to the US until 1968. The squadron was stationed at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

. In 1968, the four squadrons switched over completely to McDonnell Douglas F-4
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

D fighter-bombers and then undertook intensive preparations for their new role within the USAFE. The primary task of the four dual-based squadrons was to carry out Project CRESTED CAP. Crested Cap was the Air Force part of the Army's REFORGER, in which annual exercises of Army and Air Force units from CONUS would be deployed to Europe for multinational exercises. In addition, air supply lines are tested, and most of the heavy equipment such as armoured vehicles, artillery, etc., were shipped by sea to exercise that transportation component. Troops are flown via military and contract transport aircraft.

Although the withdrawal of USAFE forces from France was completed in 1967, it took until the mid-1970s until USAFE fully realigned its forces in Europe. Zweibruken AB in West Germany and RAF Upper Heyford in England came under USAFE control within the next several years, and older, but still useful reconnaissance and tactical fighter aircraft were redeployed from their former French bases to Southeast Asia to supplement the PACAF forces engaged in the Vietnam War.

USAFE in Spain

Before joining NATO in 1982, the USAF had for many years, used Spanish air bases. Initially used primarily by the Strategic Air Command, they were at Morón near Sevilla in southern Spain and Torrejon near Madrid. Here, sometimes for weeks on end, B-47s were held in readiness for 'Reflex-duty' and quite often Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses were sent by SAC.

The Spanish air bases were also important for reinforcing the US Air Force in Europe via the southern Atlantic route. Aircraft that flew to Europe via Lajes in the Azores always made a refueling stop at Morón, and later at Torrejon as well. These bases also had American facilities for carrying out necessary repairs and so forth.

Although the Spanish air bases were also in regular use as assembly and departure points for deployments on the way to the US, it was primarily the good weather that drew USAFE to Spain for weapons training, which at that time was still mainly held in Libya.

After June 1960. when SAC's 65th Air Division was transferred to the USAFE, the USAFE's activities in Spain increased significantly. Two interceptor squadrons equipped with Convair F-102A Delta Daggers were formed, the 431st FIS being stationed at Zaragoza and the 497th FIS at Torrejon. As compensation for the permanent use of these Spanish bases, the Spanish aircraft industry was brought in to maintain the F-102 air defense fighters that the USAFE had stationed in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. The CASA aircraft factory at the Morón base was given responsibility for the inspection and routine maintenance of the Delta Daggers of the five American interceptor squadrons in Europe.

As the American-Libyan relationship worsened throughout the second half of the 1960s, a growing number of USAFE fighter-bomber squadrons in England and Germany went to Zaragoza and gunnery ranges in Spain for weapons training. Zaragoza later became an important weapons training site for the USAFE and was also visited by F-15 Eagle Squadrons for "Dissimilar Air Combat Training". During these air combat training exercises, the F-15s often practiced against Spanish Air Force Dassault Mirage F-1 fighters.

In April 1966, the 16th Air Force was transferred from SAC to the USAFE, with USAFE taking control of the Spanish air bases at Zaragoza and Morón. Under USAFE, the Spanish bases became host to a growing number of deployments from CONUS. Morón received regular visits from Lockheed F-104C Starfighters of the 479th TFW from George AFB, California. During the Cuban Missile crisis a squadron of F-104Cs was stationed at Morón. Concern, at the height of the crisis, led to these aircraft being transferred to Hahn air base in Germany where they strengthened the air defense of central Europe. Some time later, when the crisis had passed, the aircraft returned to the US via Morón. On April 1, 1963, their place was taken by Republic F-105D "Thunderchief" fighter-bombers from the 4th TFW at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.

During the mid 1960s, the 16th Air Force also gradually took over responsibility for all USAFE operations around the Mediterranean.

USAFE in Turkey

The Turkish US Logistics Group (TUSLOG) is the primary command element in Turkey of Sixteenth Air Force
Sixteenth Air Force
The 16th Air Expeditionary Task Force is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe...

. TUSLOG not only commands various USAFE units, but also supports all other US military organizations and government agencies in Turkey.

TUSLOG was established in 1955 to support the Turkish armed forces and USAFE's activities and was headquartered in Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

. The 39th Air Base Wing
39th Air Base Wing
The 39th Air Base Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe Third Air Force. It is stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey...

 at Incirlik Air Base
Incirlik Air Base
The Incirlik Air Base is located in İncirlik, five miles east of Adana, Turkey's fifth largest city, and from the Mediterranean Sea.The U.S...

 near Adana
Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

 supports training deployments and regional exercises; communications for National Command Authority taskings; providing support for various units and an Air Mobility Command tenant unit providing air transport of passengers and cargo. In the 1950s - 1970s, the 39th supported various SAC activities in Turkey, which used Incirlik intensively as a base for U-2 reconnaissance flights along the Soviet border and in the Middle East. (Incirlik was also a former Forward Operational Location of the CIA.)

In the Turkish capital of Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

, the 7217th ABG manages the logistical support for more than 40 units and agencies, as well as the needs of the American Embassy, and US Defense Attaché Office.

At İzmir
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

, the 7266th Air Base Group supports the two NATO headquarters LANDSOUTHEAST and SIXATAF. The 7241 ABG is the only US military unit in Turkey not located at a single site, but is scattered about İzmir in various buildings.

1970s/1980s

Changes continued through the early 1970s. Headquarters USAFE transferred
from Lindsey Air Station, Germany, to Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

 in March 1973 and NATO's Allied Air Forces Central Europe was established at Ramstein Air Base in June 1974. The USAFE commander in chief then took command of Allied Air Forces Central Europe, in addition to commanding U.S. Air Force units in Europe.

Project Ready Eagle

In 1976, the modernization of USAFE began with the introduction of the advanced McDonnell-Douglas F-15A Eagle
F-15 Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

 air superiority fighter.
The F-15A design stemmed from the mid-1960s when far-sighted military planners in the Pentagon came to the conclusion that a new air defense fighter was needed, and quickly, as an answer to new Soviet air defense fighters. Although the McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

 was equipped with modern infra red-guided AIM-9 Sidewinder
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

 and radar-controlled AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

 air-to-air missiles, it often proved no match for the manoeuvrable MiG-19 Farmer
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 is a Soviet second-generation, single-seat, twin jet-engined fighter aircraft. It was the first Soviet production aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight. A comparable U.S...

 and MiG-21 Fishbed
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek by Polish pilots due to...

 fighters in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. One reason was the young American pilots' lack of air combat experience. Another was that while the F-4 was an ideal platform for a great variety of weapons and suit-able for an equal number of different tasks, it had not been developed as a dedicated air superiority fighter.

The USAF's last real air superiority fighter was the North American F-86 Sabre
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

 that had been lord and master of the air during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. The American F-86 pilots were nicknamed `MiG-killers' and in the period 1950–1953 shot down at least 792 MiGs, most of which were MiG-15
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

 fighters - the Russian showpiece of the communist North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n Air Force. America's own losses were only 78 Sabres. At the heart of this success lay the F-86's remarkable flight characteristics. The F-86 was not only fast, it had exceptional acceleration and it was extremely manoeuvrable even under difficult conditions. The F-86 was built for air combat and all its best features were echoed in the McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle.

The Soviet Union's new MiG and Sukhoi
Sukhoi
Sukhoi Company is a major Russian aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Begovoy District, Northern Administrative Okrug, Moscow, famous for its fighters...

 fighters made the American military anxious. The MiG-25 Foxbat
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. Designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau the first prototype flew in 1964 with entry into service in 1970...

 made them pull out all the stops to get the F-15A into USAFE

The F-15A was deployed to Germany in April 1977 with the 36th TFW at Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Airport is a commercial airport serving Bitburg, a city in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. It is located 2 miles southeast of Bitburg, 20 miles north of Trier, and 135 miles west of Wiesbaden....

 West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

. The 32nd TFS at Soesterberg AB Netherlands was also upgraded to the McDonnell-Douglas F-15A "Eagle" as part of Project Ready Eagle.
By 1986, all F-4 wings were replaced by F-15 and F-16
F-16 Fighting Falcon
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

 fighters. The 36th TFW's existing F-4E Phantoms were incorporated into three new USAFE squadrons which were established at Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base was a frontline NATO facility in Germany for over 40 years during the Cold War...

 (313th TFS), Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

 (480th TFS) and Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

 (512th TFS). Preparations for the switch to the F-15 went ahead at full speed. Its introduction to the USAFE was given the project name `Ready Eagle and, naturally, included transition training for the USAFE pilots.

This retraining was the joint responsibility of the USAFE and TAC
TAC
TAC may refer to:* Tác, Hungary* Pablo Tac, a Luiseño Indian who provided a rare contemporary Native American perspective on the institutions and early history of California...

 and first began in January 1976 at Langley AFB, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, where the 1st TFW, was stationed. At Langley the USAFE's future F-15 pilots were given a crash course that familiarized them with the new aircraft in a relatively short time. The first F-15A's arrived at Bitburg on January 7, 1977. These were two TF-15A trainers (serial numbers 75-049 and 75-050), that had flown non-stop from Langley in seven and a half hours.

These Eagles were to be used primarily for ground crew familiarization in anticipation of the arrival of the 525th TFS's first F-15As. The 23 aircraft for this first operational squadron left Langley on April 27, 1977 for a mass Atlantic crossing. Over the following months the aircraft for two other squadrons (22nd TFS and 53rd TFS) arrived. The 36th TFW's full strength of 79 fully operational F-15As was reached in December 1977. Project Ready Eagle was completed in precisely one year.

However, after flying the F15A and F-15B for just 18 months, the USAFE exchanged these models for the new F-15C and F-15D Eagles. In May 1980 the 32d flew five of its F-15A/B Eagles to Eglin Air Force Base Florida to participate in the weapons systems evaluation program. While at Eglin the united swapped its aircraft for the newer models. These planes arrived at Soesterberg on 13 June, making the 32d the first unit in the USAFE to be equipped with the latest versions of the F-15. The 32nd completed the upgrade on 25 November 1980. At that time the squadron possessed 18 F-15C's and two F-15D's fighter aircraft.

SS-20s pointing at Europe

By 1975 NATO had lost its strategic nuclear lead over the Soviet Union and with the introduction of the SS-20 had even fallen behind. NATO's answer was not long in coming and on December 12, 1979, NATO decided to deploy 572 new nuclear missiles in Europe: 108 Pershing II Missiles
Pershing missile
Pershing was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missiles designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army's primary nuclear-capable theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test...

 and 464 BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missiles. Of the cruise missiles, 160 were stationed in England, 96 in West Germany, 112 in Italy, 48 in the Netherlands, and 48 in Belgium. All 108 Pershings were stationed in West Germany.

The second significant aspect of the NATO decision was the readiness to `horse trade' with the Soviet Union for the reduction or total elimination of these missiles against similar reductions or elimination of the Russian SS-20s.

East-West relations were put under more pressure by the Soviet troops' 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during the Christmas holiday. Together, the Soviet troops and Afghan government troops took up the fight against Islamic rebels. In his reaction to this brutal assault, President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 said that, under the circumstances, ratification of the new SALT-2 Agreement - the agreement between the US and the Soviet Union concerning the maximum number of strategic nuclear missiles on both sides would be improper. The American Congress agreed wholeheartedly.

In addition, NATO carried out its plans to station cruise missiles in Europe despite strong protests from the peace movements and heavy diplomatic pressure in the European Parliament.

NATO's condition for not carrying out its plans was the Soviet Union's willingness to halt the deployment of mobile SS-20 nuclear missiles aimed at Europe and remove the missiles already deployed. In 1979, when the NATO decision was taken, the Soviet Union had 14 (1 operational) SS-20 launch sites. The eighty located in the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

 (East Germany) and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 were aimed at targets in Western Europe. According to Western estimates, at the beginning of 1986 the Soviet Union already deployed 279 SS-20 launching installations with a total of 837 nuclear warheads in the GDR and Czechoslovakia.

In 1986, the US Army had three battalions, with a total of 108 Martin Marrieta Pershing II Missiles
Pershing missile
Pershing was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missiles designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army's primary nuclear-capable theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test...

, stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany at Neu Ulm, Mutlangen
Mutlangen
Mutlangen is a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in Ostalbkreis district. As of 1 August 2007, Mutlangen has 6,548 inhabitants....

 and Neckarsulm
Neckarsulm
Neckarsulm is a city in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany, near Stuttgart, and part of the district Heilbronn. As of 2004, Neckarsulm had 27,296 inhabitants....

. The Pershing 2s replaced a similar number of Pershing 1As that had been stored in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1962.

The first General Dynamics BGM-109 Tomahawk
BGM-109 Tomahawk
The Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. Introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, it was designed as a medium- to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times and, by way of corporate divestitures...

 Ground-Launched Cruise Missiles to arrive in Europe went to the 501st Tactical Missile Wing (TMW) at RAF Greenham Common
RAF Greenham Common
RAF Station Greenham Common is a former military airfield in Berkshire, England. The airfield is located approximately south-southwest of Thatcham; about west of London....

, England. The controversial weapons were delivered by a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
C-141 Starlifter
The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter was a military strategic airlifter in service with the Air Mobility Command of the United States Air Force...

 on November 14, 1983. By 1986, there were 32 operational cruise missile launching installations in England (RAF Greenham Common
RAF Greenham Common
RAF Station Greenham Common is a former military airfield in Berkshire, England. The airfield is located approximately south-southwest of Thatcham; about west of London....

 and RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth is a Royal Air Force station located near Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom with a history dating back to 1917.Its runway and flight line facilities were closed in 1973 and demolished to support ground-launched cruise missile operations in the early 1980s...

), Belgium (Florennes Air Base
Florennes Air Base
Florennes Air Base is a Belgian Air Component military airfield located in Florennes, a municipality of Belgium. It is home to the 2nd Tactical Wing, operating F-16 Fighting Falcons. It also used to be the home to the Tactical Leadership Programme , a joint training program formed by 10 NATO members...

), and on Sicily (Comiso Air Base). Because each GLCM launching installation comprises four weapons, the total number of cruise missiles stationed in Europe was 128.

Luckily disarmament talks between East and West resulted in a disarmament treaty being signed by Soviet Communist Party Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 and US President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 at the end of 1987 during Gorbachev's visit to the United States. The Soviet Union agreed to dismantle the SS-20s and with that the deployment of American cruise missiles in Europe was over once and for all.

The historic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. Signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, it was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and...

, ratified in 1988, mandated the first-ever elimination of an entire class of weapons from U.S. and Soviet inventories. USAFE completed removal of the ground-launched cruise missiles and other weaponry on March 26, 1991, when the last 16 missiles were removed from Comiso Air Base, Italy.

1988 Table of Organization

At the end of the Cold War, the USAFE Force Structure was as follows:

  • Third Air Force
    Third Air Force
    The Third Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe . It is headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany....

    , RAF Mildenhall
    RAF Mildenhall
    RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force station located at Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as an RAF station, it primarily supports United States Air Force operations and is currently the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing...

    , United Kingdom
10th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Alconbury
RAF Alconbury
RAF Alconbury is an active Royal Air Force station in Cambridgeshire, England. The airfield is adjacent to the Stukeleys [Great and Little] and located about northwest of Huntingdon; about north of London....

20th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Upper Heyford was a Royal Air Force station located north-west of Bicester near the village of Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England. The base was brought into use for flying in July 1918 by the Royal Flying Corps. During World War II it was used by many units of the RAF, mainly as a training...

48th Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath
RAF Lakenheath, is a Royal Air Force military airbase near Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. Although an RAF station, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel...

81st Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters, now known as Bentwaters Parks, is a former Royal Air Force station about 80 miles NE of London, 10 miles ENE of Ipswich, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in England...

303d Tactical Missile Wing, RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth
RAF Molesworth is a Royal Air Force station located near Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom with a history dating back to 1917.Its runway and flight line facilities were closed in 1973 and demolished to support ground-launched cruise missile operations in the early 1980s...

501st Tactical Missile Wing, RAF Greenham Common
RAF Greenham Common
RAF Station Greenham Common is a former military airfield in Berkshire, England. The airfield is located approximately south-southwest of Thatcham; about west of London....

513th Aircraft Command and Control Wing, RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force station located at Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as an RAF station, it primarily supports United States Air Force operations and is currently the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing...

7020th Air Base Group, RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in...

7247th Air Base Group, RAF Chicksands
RAF Chicksands
RAF Chicksands was a Royal Air Force station in Bedfordshire, England, which closed in 1997 when responsibility for the camp was taken over by the British Army Intelligence Corps...

527th Aggressor Squadron, RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters
RAF Bentwaters, now known as Bentwaters Parks, is a former Royal Air Force station about 80 miles NE of London, 10 miles ENE of Ipswich, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in England...


  • Sixteenth Air Force
    Sixteenth Air Force
    The 16th Air Expeditionary Task Force is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe...

    , Torrejon Air Base
    Torrejon Air Base
    Madrid-Torrejón Airport is a commercial airport in Spain. It is a joint-use facility between the Spanish Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Works. The civil part is dedicated primarily to executive and private aviation. The airport is located northeast of Madrid, west of Alcalá de...

    , Spain
401st Tactical Fighter Wing, Torrejon Air Base
Torrejon Air Base
Madrid-Torrejón Airport is a commercial airport in Spain. It is a joint-use facility between the Spanish Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Works. The civil part is dedicated primarily to executive and private aviation. The airport is located northeast of Madrid, west of Alcalá de...

, Spain
406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing, Zaragoza Air Base
Zaragoza Air Base
Zaragoza Air Base was a NATO military airbase located near Zaragoza, Spain. It was located west of Zaragoza, west of Barcelona, and northeast of Madrid.It was closed as a NATO base in in April 1992...

, Spain
487th Tactical Missile Wing, Comiso Air Base, Italy
United States Logistics Group (TUSLOG), Ankara Air Station, Turkey
39th Tactical Group, Incirlik Air Base
Incirlik Air Base
The Incirlik Air Base is located in İncirlik, five miles east of Adana, Turkey's fifth largest city, and from the Mediterranean Sea.The U.S...

, Turkey
40th Tactical Group, Aviano Air Base
Aviano Air Base
Aviano Air Base is a NATO Air Base under U.S. Air Force administration in northeastern Italy, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps, or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometers from Pordenone.-Units:Aviano is hosted by the...

, Italy
Detachment 2, 401st Tactical Fighter Wing
496th Air Base Squadron
The 496th Air Base Squadron is a United States Air Force unit, stationed at Morón Air Base, Spain. The 496th ABS provides host unit support for the base under the 86th Operations Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.-Overview:...

, Moron Air Base
Morón Air Base
Morón Air Base is located at in southern Spain, approximately southeast of the city of Seville and northeast of Naval Station Rota. The base gets its name from the nearby town of Morón de la Frontera - although its is actually located in the municipality of Arahal.Morón's massive flight line,...

, Spain
7206th Air Base Group, Hellenikon Air Base
Hellenikon Air Base
Hellenikon Air Base was a former United States Air Force base located in Athens, Greece. After its closure, it was redeveloped into Ellinikon International Airport.-History:...

, Greece
7217th Air Base Group, Ankara Air Station, Turkey
7241st Air Base Group, Izmir Air Station, Turkey
7275th Air Base Group, San Vito dei Normanni Air Station, Italy
7276th Air Base Group, Iraklion Air Station
Iraklion Air Station
Iraklion Air Station was a United States Air Force facility located east of the city of Iraklion in the village of Gournes, in the north central section of the Greek island of Crete.-Major commands to which assigned:...

, Crete, Greece

  • Direct Headquarters, USAFE Reporting Units
7455th Tactical Intelligence Wing
7455th Tactical Intelligence Wing
The 7455th Tactical Intelligence Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe, stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany...

, Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
497th Reconnaissance Technical Group, Schierstein Kaserne
Schierstein Kaserne
Schierstein Kaserne was a NATO facility located near Wiesbaden, Germany. It was closed as a NATO facility on 1 July 1991. Today the facility has been redeveloped as part of the Schierstein borough of Wiesbaden.-History:...

, Wiesbaden, West Germany
7350th Air Base Group, Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport
Tempelhof Central Airport was a United States Military airfield in West Berlin, Germany between 1945 and 1994.During its operational life, it was garrisoned by the United States Air Force, with units of the United States Army Berlin Brigade located within the facility...

, West Berlin

  • Seventeenth Air Force
    Seventeenth Air Force
    Seventeenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The command served the United States Air Forces in Europe during its years of active service...

    , Sembach Air Base, West Germany
65th Air Division, Sembach Air Base, West Germany
316th Air Division
316th Air Division
The 316th Airlift Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, assigned to Seventeenth Air Force, being stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany...

, Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
The 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Zweibrücken Air Base, Germany, where it was inactivated on 31 July 1991.-History:...

, Zweibrücken Air Base
Zweibrücken Air Base
Zweibrücken Air Base was a NATO air base in West Germany . It was located 35 miles SSW of Kaiserslautern and 2 miles mi SE of Zweibrücken. It was assigned to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Forces in Europe during its operational lifetime.The facility was closed in...

, West Germany
36th Tactical Fighter Wing, Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Air Base
Bitburg Airport is a commercial airport serving Bitburg, a city in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. It is located 2 miles southeast of Bitburg, 20 miles north of Trier, and 135 miles west of Wiesbaden....

, West Germany
38th Tactical Missile Wing, Wueschheim AB, West Germany
50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base was a frontline NATO facility in Germany for over 40 years during the Cold War...

, West Germany
52d Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base
Spangdahlem Air Base is a United States Air Force base located near the small German town of Spangdahlem, approximately 30 km NNE of the city of Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate.-Units:...

, West Germany
66th Electronic Combat Wing, Sembach Air Base, West Germany
86th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
377th Combat Support Wing, Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
485th Tactical Missile Wing, Florennes Air Base
Florennes Air Base
Florennes Air Base is a Belgian Air Component military airfield located in Florennes, a municipality of Belgium. It is home to the 2nd Tactical Wing, operating F-16 Fighting Falcons. It also used to be the home to the Tactical Leadership Programme , a joint training program formed by 10 NATO members...

, Belgium
7100st Combat Support Wing, Lindsey Air Station, West Germany
7575th Operations Group, Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, West Germany
32d Tactical Fighter Squadron, Soesterberg Royal Netherlands Air Force Base, The Netherlands
7104th Air Base Squadron, Chièvres Air Base
Chièvres Air Base
Chièvres Air Base is a United States Air Force airfield located in the Belgian town of Chièvres and about 12 miles from Headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe , in Casteau. It is mainly used to provide logistic support to NATO and SHAPE...

, Belgium

  • Attached to Headquarters, USAFE
7th Air Division (Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

), Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
306th Strategic Wing
306th Strategic Wing
The 306th Strategic Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Strategic Air Command, being stationed at RAF Mildenhall, England. It was inactivated on 1 February 1992....

, RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force station located at Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as an RAF station, it primarily supports United States Air Force operations and is currently the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing...

, UK
11th Strategic Group, RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford
RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in...

, UK
34th Strategic Squadron, Zaragoza Air Base
Zaragoza Air Base
Zaragoza Air Base was a NATO military airbase located near Zaragoza, Spain. It was located west of Zaragoza, west of Barcelona, and northeast of Madrid.It was closed as a NATO base in in April 1992...

, Spain
322d Airlift Division
322d Airlift Division
The 322d Airlift Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Military Airlift Command, assigned to Twenty-First Air Force, being stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany...

 (Military Airlift Command
Military Airlift Command
The Military Airlift Command is an inactive United States Air Force Major Command of the USAF which was headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. It was constituted on 1 January 1966 and active until the end of the Cold War, when the Air Force table of organization was revised...

), Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany
435th Tactical Airlift Wing, Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, West Germany
313th Tactical Airlift Group, RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force station located at Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as an RAF station, it primarily supports United States Air Force operations and is currently the home of the 100th Air Refueling Wing...

, England
608th Military Airlift Group
608th Military Airlift Group
The 608th Military Airlift Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 86th Wing, stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It was inactivated on 1 June 1992.-History:...

, Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization installation...

, West Germany

AB = Air Base. Flying/Operational base with permanently assigned aircraft.
AS = Air Station. No permanently assigned aircraft, may or may not have a runway and flying facilities.

End of the Cold War

Fraying amongst the members of the Warsaw Pact nations and instability of its western allies, first indicated by Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

's 1980 rise to leadership of the trade union Solidarity, accelerated, leaving the Soviet Union unable to depend upon its satellite states for protection of its borders, as buffer states.

By 1989, the Soviet Union had repudiated the Brezhnev Doctrine
Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet Union foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article, entitled “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.” Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the...

 in favor of non-intervention in the internal affairs of its Eastern European allies, thereby fatally depriving the Eastern European regimes of the assurance of Soviet assistance and intervention in the event of popular uprising. Gradually, each of the Warsaw Pact nations saw their communist governments fall to popular elections and, in the case of Romania, a violent uprising.

By 1990, the Soviet government had virtually lost control over economic conditions. On February 7, 1990 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union agreed to give up its monopoly of power.

On December 8, 1991, the leaders of the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian republics met in Belavezhskaya Pushcha to issue a declaration that the Soviet Union was dissolved and replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 (CIS). Gorbachev described this as a constitutional coup, but it soon became clear that the development could not be halted.

The Soviet flag as it was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time. On December 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR. By December 31, 1991 all official Soviet institutions had ceased operations as individual republics assumed the central government's role. The Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin.

Post Cold War era

The great irony is that USAFE per se never had to fight the Soviet military machine in Europe. As World War II caused unrealistic expectations in the minds of many about the likelihood of future war, so, too, did the end of the Cold War, with a clamoring for a "peace dividend" and questions from many about the appropriate size and purpose of American military forces.

All American military forces, and those of the NATO organization as well, experienced rapid change. In the case of USAFE, this spearhead of NATO air power shrunk from over 850 aircraft and 72,000 personnel scattered among 27 bases in 1990 to approximately 240 aircraft, 33,000 personnel, and six flying bases by the end of 1996.

However, a new crisis was quickly in the brewing.

Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm

With the onset of Operations Desert Shield in August 1990 and Desert Storm the following January, USAFE resources mobilized and moved to Southwest Asia.

More than 180 aircraft and 5,400 people assigned to USAFE units deployed to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 area. In conjunction, more than 100 aircraft and 2,600 personnel deployed to Turkey for Operation Proven Force. A total of 60,000 USAFE personnel were committed to the war effort; however, fewer than 10,000 actually deployed. More than half of the command's aircraft deployed to support Desert Storm.

The command's air support was lethal. For example, USAFE accounted for only 20 percent of the air-to-air assets in Desert Storm, but claimed half of the air-to-air kills. Command support personnel shipped 85,000 tons of munitions, including more than 35,000 bombs and 7,800 missiles.

USAFE activated aeromedical staging facilities and contingency hospitals, increasing available bed space 1,500 percent above normal peacetime operations. More than 9,000 patients, mostly suffering from noncombat-related illnesses and injuries, were evacuated to Europe. More than 3,000 were treated at USAFE medical facilities. Almost 7,600 patients were later air evacuated to the continental United States for follow-on treatment.

Operation Provide Comfort

While most of the world celebrated the coalition victory, Kurdish rebels and Iraqi forces were fighting in Northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. The Kurds began a mass exodus toward Turkey and later Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. USAFE and U.S. European Command personnel stepped in to save lives during Operation Provide Comfort.

The operation immediately began air dropping food and supplies to the
refugees. More than 2,400 USAFE people deployed in support of Provide
Comfort, along with 36 fighter aircraft to provide protection for the
transports. In a relatively new role, USAFE used A-10
A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American single-seat, twin-engine, straight-wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. The A-10 was designed for a United States Air Force requirement to provide close air support for ground forces by attacking tanks,...

 aircraft to spot and mark the pockets of Kurds needing humanitarian relief.

As Operation Provide Comfort drew to a close, Kurdish leaders asked for
continued protection from the Iraqi army. Operation Provide Comfort II picked up where the first operation left off, building a multinational rapidly deployable air and ground force in Turkey ready to defend the Kurds.

Balkans operations

USAFE also provided air protection over the skies of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Operation Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation that began on April 12, 1993 as the enforcement of a United Nations no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina...

. Along with allies from NATO countries, USAFE aircrews applied airpower in Operation Deliberate Force, the bombing campaign that paved the way for the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. USAFE then helped deploy Peace Implementation Forces and equipment to Bosnia for Operation Joint Endeavor and sustained them by airlift.

USAFE forces again mobilized in March 1999 when NATO intervened in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 to stop Serbian fight against Albanian Liberation Army of the province's of Kosovo. USAFE forces was air support for Albanian fighters on the ground. Albanian refugees appeared after the beginning of hostilities. Efforts to find a diplomatic solution collapsed, resulting in Operation Allied Force
Operation Allied Force
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999...

–the NATO-led air war over Kosovo. The 78-day operation ended June 20 culminating in the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo and the eventual return of refugees. USAFE's 3rd Air Force led Joint Task Force Shining Hope, established to assist the hundreds of thousands of refugees who left Kosovo because of war. USAFE continues to contribute to NATO-led forces promoting peace and stability in Kosovo.

Global War on Terrorism

USAFE has been in the front lines of the Global War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 since September 11, 2001. During Operation Enduring Freedom, it supported an air bridge from Europe to Asia that delivered 3,300 tons of humanitarian daily rations to northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, opened a base in Kyrgystan for coalition forces, and established a medical evacuation network that moved nearly 4,000 patients. USAFE deployed 24 fighter aircraft, eight KC-135
KC-135 Stratotanker
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling military aircraft. It and the Boeing 707 airliner were developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype. The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratotanker...

 tankers and nearly 2,400 people in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It opened an important airfield in northern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and provided critical en route support to deploying forces, not to mention vital logistical and medical support to forward-deployed forces.

Today, USAFE airmen are engaged in a wide range of active U.S. military efforts in Europe and Africa, including realistic U.S. and NATO exercises and the Global War on Terrorism. The command also plays a major role in furthering democracy in the former Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, as USAFE people take part in Partnership for Peace exercises and Military-to-Military contact programs.

See also

  • United States Air Force in France
    United States Air Force In France
    During the early years of the Cold War, the United States Air Force deployed thousands of personnel and hundreds of combat aircraft to France to counter the buildup of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe....

  • United States Air Force in Germany
    United States Air Force In Germany
    Since 7 May 1945 The United States has maintained air bases in Germany initially beginning as postwar occupation forces. During the Cold War, the number of bases was expanded to support NATO....

  • United States Air Force in the United Kingdom
    United States Air Force in the United Kingdom
    Since 1941 the United States has maintained air bases in the United Kingdom. Major Commands of the USAF having bases in the United Kingdom were the United States Air Forces in Europe , Strategic Air Command , and Air Mobility Command .-Origins:...

  • Strategic Air Command in the United Kingdom
    Strategic Air Command in the United Kingdom
    During the mid- to late 1940s the United States Air Forces in Europe was occupied with supporting the movement of men and aircraft of the Strategic Air Command to bases in England.-Early Cold War Tensions:...

  • List of joint US-Bulgarian military bases

External links and further reading

  • http://www.usafe.af.mil/
  • Simon Duke, U.S. Military Forces and Installations in Europe, Oxford University Press for SIPRI
    SIPRI
    Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament...

    , 1989.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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