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Ramstein Air Base or Ramstein AB is a
United States Air Force base This is a list of installations operated by the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight uniformed ...
in
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
, a state in southwestern
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
. It serves as headquarters for the
United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa The United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) is a United States Air Force major command (MAJCOM) and a component command of both United States European Command (USEUCOM) and United States Africa Command (USAFRICO ...
(USAFE-AFAFRICA) and also for
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
Allied Air Command The Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) is the central command of all NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental ...
(AIRCOM). Ramstein is located near the town of
Ramstein-Miesenbach Ramstein-Miesenbach is a municipality in the district of Kaiserslautern (district), Kaiserslautern in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, adjacent to the US Ramstein Air Base. History As a result of the State of Rheinland-Pfalz administrative reform ...
, which stands outside the base's west gate, in the rural district of Kaiserslautern. The east gate of Ramstein Air Base is circa from Kaiserslautern (locally referred to by Americans as "K-Town"). Other nearby civilian communities include
Landstuhl Landstuhl () is a municipality of over 8,000 people in southwestern Germany. It is part of the district of Kaiserslautern, in the Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western states of Germany, state of Ge ...

Landstuhl
, some from the west gate.


Overview

The host unit is the
86th Airlift Wing
86th Airlift Wing
(86 AW), commanded by
Brigadier General #REDIRECT Brigadier general #REDIRECT Brigadier general Brigadier general (Brig. Gen.) or brigade general is a military rank used in many countries. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of co ...

Brigadier General
Joshua Olson. The 86th Airlift Wing is composed of six groups, 30 squadrons and four bases in
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, the Azores, and
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
. Its mission is the operation and maintenance of airlift assets consisting of
C-130J The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop A turboprop engine is a turbine engine A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of Internal combustion engine#Continuous combustion, continuous and inte ...
s, C-21s, and
C-37A The Gulfstream V (Model GV, pronounced "G-five") is a long-range, large business jet aircraft produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, derived from the previous Gulfstream IV. It flies up to , up to and has a range. It typically accommodates four ...
Gulfstream aircraft throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Also at Ramstein is the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing (formerly the
435th Air Base Wing The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing is an active unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. It is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The current commander is Colonel Michael "Lou" Rawls, who to ...

435th Air Base Wing
) (435 AGOW), which focuses on base-support responsibilities within the KMC. It is composed of five groups and 20 squadrons. The wing provides rapid mobility and agile combat support for military operations, and maintains expeditionary forces and infrastructure. The commander of the 435th AGOW is Colonel Michael T. Rawls. The new
521st Air Mobility Operations Wing
521st Air Mobility Operations Wing
stood up on 4 September 2008. The current commander of the 521st AMOW is Colonel Thomas Cooper. Ramstein's wings are assigned to the headquarters 3rd Air Force also based at Ramstein AB, which controls most of the USAF Wings throughout Europe. Ramstein AB is part of the
Kaiserslautern Military Community Kaiserslautern Military Community is a community of Americans living in and around Kaiserslautern, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages ...
 (KMC), where more than 54,000 American service members and more than 5,400 US civilian employees live and work. U.S. organizations in the KMC also employ the services of more than 6,200 German workers. Air Force units in the KMC alone employ almost 9,800 military members, bringing with them nearly 11,100 family members. There are more than 16,200 military, U.S. civilian and U.S. contractors assigned to Ramstein AB alone. In 1984, an enlisted airman (Sgt Darrel Dietlein) assigned to the 1964th Communications Group, solicited National Headquarters Civil Air Patrol to charter the first "Cadet Squadron" in Germany, naming the unit "Ramstein Cadet Squadron" and becoming the unit's first commander as a CAP 1Lt. The Ramstein Cadet Squadron was formed with Captain Mark Bailey serving as the unit's first liaison officer, as well as other like minded military volunteers and roughly six cadets. To this day, the squadron enjoys vibrant member participation, as well as base support, hosting drill competitions and encampments along with their traditional military studies and aerospace education efforts. The Ramstein Cadet Squadron commander as of February 2019 was Lt Col Chris Blank. The squadron is the parent unit for 2 flights located at Wiesbaden Army Airfield and Patch Barracks, Stuttgart. Current membership as of April 2019 was 124 members. In the subsequent years, a companion cadet squadron was formed at Spangdahlem Air Base. Distance learning cadets are located at SHAPE, Belgium and Hohenfels, Germany.


Current status

From 2004 to 2006, Ramstein Air Base underwent an extensive expansion with a major construction project – including an all-new
airport terminal An airport terminal is a building at an airport An airport is an with extended facilities, mostly for commercial air transport. Airports often have facilities to park and maintain aircraft, and a . An airport consists of a , which c ...

airport terminal
, among other new facilities, through the so-called Rhein-Main Transition Program which was initiated in support of the total closure of
Rhein-Main Air Base Rhein-Main Air Base (located at ) was a United States Air Force air base near the city of Frankfurt, Germany. It was a Military Airlift Command (MAC) and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) installation, occupying the south side of Frankfur ...
on 30 December 2005 and transferring all its former capacities to Ramstein Air Base (70%) and
Spangdahlem Air Base Spangdahlem Air Base (International Air Transport Association airport code, IATA: SPM, International Civil Aviation Organization airport code, ICAO: ETAD, former code EDAD) is a NATO air base with the USAF as a tenant constructed between 1951 and 1 ...
(30%). While the KMC remains the largest U.S. community overseas at 53,000 people, the defense drawdown continues to shape its future. Due to the departure of other main operating installations, more than 100 geographically separated units receive support from Ramstein. Ramstein Air Base also served as temporary housing for the
United States men's national soccer team The United States men's national soccer team (USMNT) represents the United States in men's international Association football, soccer competitions. The team is controlled by the United States Soccer Federation and is a member of FIFA and CONC ...
during the
2006 World Cup
2006 World Cup
. There is often a Summer Camp to Ramstein from British CCF (RAF) and ATC cadets, as well as Civil Air Patrol encampments and tours like the ones held in July 2015 and June 2016. Currently, Ramstein Air Base consists of two runways - 09/27 and 08/26 - two large aprons, one near a hangar north of Runways 27 and 26, and one to the north of 09 and 08. The north-western apron also has a small passenger terminal with two
jetways A jet bridge (also termed jetway, jetwalk, airgate, gangway, aerobridge/airbridge, skybridge, airtube, expedited suspended passenger entry system (E-SPES), or its official industry name passenger boarding bridge (PBB)) is an enclosed, movable c ...
. This means the air base is capable of joint-use operations, although currently there are no scheduled airlines running flights to and from Ramstein.


History

The construction of the air base was a project designed and undertaken by the French Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1949 to 1952. It was an example of international collaboration: designed by French engineers, constructed by local businesses and large number of temporary and migrant workers of Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Turkey and operated by Americans. The area was a
swamp A swamp is a forested wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes pre ...

swamp
that had to be built up by two meters (six feet). A train line was laid out from Einsiedlerhof-Kaiserslautern in a yoke shape around to the current base and back down to the Landstuhl spur in 1948 by agreement of the U.S. and French Occupational Forces. Trainloads of earth were moved over the line and spread over the base's current area to raise it to its current level. Once the ground was level, building construction began. Two bases were laid out. Landstuhl Air Base on the south side and Ramstein Air Station (station, no airstrip) on the north. From 1948 to the opening of the bases in 1953 it was the largest one spot construction site in Europe employing over 270,000 Europeans at one time.


Previous names

* Landstuhl Air Base, 5 August 1952 * Ramstein Air Base, 1 June 1953 : Landstuhl and Ramstein were separate bases until 1 December 1957 * Ramstein–Landstuhl Air Base, 1 December 1957 * Ramstein Air Base, 15 August 1958 – present


Major USAF units assigned

Source: Fletcher, ''Air Force Bases Volume II'' * 86th Air Base Group, 5 April 1952 – 14 November 1968 :
86th Wing (various designations)
86th Wing (various designations)
, 21 August 1952 – 18 November 1960; 31 January 1973 – present : (86th Air Base Group (later under various designations) assigned as subordinate unit, 21 August 1952) : 86th Air Division, 18 November 1960 – 14 November 1968 * 7030th Combat Support Group, 6 April 1953 – 1 May 1960 : 7030th Air Base Wing, 5 October 1966 – 14 June 1985 *
Twelfth Air Force The Twelfth Air Force (12 AF; Air Forces Southern, (AFSOUTH)) is a Numbered Air Force A Numbered Air Force (NAF) is a type of organization in the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air ...
, 27 April 1953 – 1 January 1958 * 7486th Air Defense Group, 1 May 1954 – 25 September 1957 *
322d Air Division The 322d Airlift Division (322d AD) is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight uniform ...
, 22 March 1954 – 12 August 1955 : 322d Airlift Division, 23 June 1978 – 1 April 1992 * 7455th Tactical Intelligence Wing, 1 September 1985 – 1 July 1992 *
Seventeenth Air Force Seventeenth Expeditionary Air Force (17 EAF) is a numbered air force A Numbered Air Force (NAF) is a type of organization in the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, ser ...
, 15 November 1959 – 7 October 1972; 1 October 2008 – 24 April 2012 * HQ, Atlantic Air Rescue Center (various designations), 8 October 1961 – 30 June 1973 *
26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing The 26th Information Operations Wing is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight uniform ...
, 5 October 1966 – 31 January 1973 * HQ, USAFE, 10 March 1973 – present *
306th Strategic Wing The 306th Strategic Wing, previously the 306th Bombardment Wing, is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. I ...

306th Strategic Wing
, 15 August 1976 – 30 June 1978 *
7th Air Division The 7th Air Division (7 AD) served the United States Air Force with distinction from early 1944 through early 1992, earning an outstanding unit decoration and a service streamer along the way. History Hawaii The division provided air defense ...
, 1 July 1978 – 1 February 1992 *
316th Air Division The 316th Airlift Division (316th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight unifo ...
, 14 June 1985 – 1 May 1991 * NHQ119 Civil Air Patrol – Ramstein Cadet Squadron – Unit 3395, 1984 – present * 377th Combat Support Wing, 14 June 1985 – 1 May 1991 *
435th Air Base Wing The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing is an active unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. It is stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The current commander is Colonel Michael "Lou" Rawls, who to ...

435th Air Base Wing
, 15 January 2004 – 16 July 2009 * 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, 16 July 2009–present *
38th Combat Support Wing The 38th Combat Support Wing is an inactive wing A wing is a type of fin that produces lift while moving through air or some other fluid. Accordingly, wings have streamlined Cross section (geometry), cross-sections that are subject to aer ...

38th Combat Support Wing
, 24 May 2005 – 30 June 2007 *
521st Air Mobility Operations Wing
521st Air Mobility Operations Wing
, 4 September 2008 – present


Major U.S. Army units assigned

Source: Fletcher, ''Air Force Bases Volume II'' * 21st TSC / 39th Movement Control BN. (2008 – Present) *USAREUR Movement Control Team / AMC Logistic Center *USAREUR Overseas Replacement Center – Contingency Operations / AMC Passenger Terminal


Origins

In 1940, construction of today's '' Bundesautobahn 6'' was stopped when a bridge that was being built across the
Rhine River ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...
near
Mannheim Mannheim (; Palatine GermanPalatine German may refer to: * Palatine German language * German Palatines See also *Palatinate (region) *Palatinate (disambiguation) {{disambig Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...: or ), officiall ...

Mannheim
collapsed, leaving a section of autobahn that could not be used. A part of the unused autobahn to the west of Mannheim, near
Kaiserslautern Kaiserslautern (; Palatinate German: ''Lautre'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclo ...
, was used as an airstrip by the
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), th ...
. The airstrip was also used by the advancing U.S. Army Air Forces during the final months of World War II. The old autobahn section is still used as the access road to the east and west gates of the base and the A 6 was rebuilt south of the air base after the war. During the initial postwar era, the USAAF repaired several former
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), th ...
airfields in
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
which was part of the American occupation zone of Germany. With the advent of the
Berlin Blockade The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective all ...
and the chilling of relations with the Soviet Union by 1948 it became obvious to
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
planners that these bases were tactically untenable because of their proximity to the
East German East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; german: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, , DDR, ), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in New states of Germany, eastern Germany as part of the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War. C ...
and
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...

Czechoslovakia
n borders. With the creation of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
in response to
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
tensions in Europe in 1949, USAFE wanted its vulnerable fighter units in what was then
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
moved west of the Rhine River to provide greater air defense warning time. France agreed to provide air base sites within their zone of occupation in the
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
as part of the NATO expansion program. Construction of the modern USAF base near Kaiserslautern began in April 1948 under the provisions of a Franco-American reciprocal agreement. Two separate, but adjoining bases were designed. A headquarters base for
Twelfth Air Force The Twelfth Air Force (12 AF; Air Forces Southern, (AFSOUTH)) is a Numbered Air Force A Numbered Air Force (NAF) is a type of organization in the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air ...
, along with several NATO organizations, designated as Ramstein Air Station; and an operational fighter base, designated as Landstuhl Air Base. What is today known as Kisling Memorial Drive would separate the two facilities. Enough construction was completed in mid-1952, that Landstuhl AB was opened on 5 August. Its facilities included a runway, dispersal hardstands, a
control tower Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace, and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace. The primary pur ...

control tower
, ramps, and other flight-related facilities and the associated flying and support units. On 1 February 1952, Det 1, 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing arrived at Landstuhl AB from
Neubiberg Air Base Neubiberg Air Base is a former German Air Force "Always in action" , colours = , colours_label = , march = , mascot = , anniversaries ...
near
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
. On 1 June 1953 Ramstein Air Station was opened. Ramstein was the location of headquarters, Twelfth Air Force, and supported family housing, base exchange, commissary, dependents' schools and other administrative offices for the WAFs (Women's Air Force). The barracks that were built at Ramstein AS were used to house WAFs and single women that worked as U.S. Government Employees at both Ramstein AS and Landstuhl AB. On 27 April 1953, Headquarters,
Twelfth Air Force The Twelfth Air Force (12 AF; Air Forces Southern, (AFSOUTH)) is a Numbered Air Force A Numbered Air Force (NAF) is a type of organization in the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air ...
was activated on Ramstein Air Base, having moved from its joint facilities with HQ USAFE at Wiesbaden AB. What was not generally known at the time, and not made public until after the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
in 1993, was the desire to have HQ Twelfth Air Force in close proximity to the Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC) – Kindsbach, AKA 'Kindsbach Cave' – the site of NATO's underground combat operations center. The 86th Air Base Group was activated as the main base support unit for Landstuhl, while the 7030th HQ Support Group was the main base support unit for Ramstein. On 1 December 1957, the two bases were consolidated into the largest NATO-controlled air base in service on the continent. It was called "Ramstein–Landstuhl Air Base", but later, after the German government continued construction of the A6 autobahn from Kaiserslautern to Saarbrücken the autobahn cut off access at the south of the base which is where the main gate was in the city limit of Landstuhl. The main gate was moved to the west side of the base which was in the town of Ramstein. The two bases were joined and the current Kisling Memorial Drive cut off to the public which made one base. In 1961 the base was officially named "Ramstein Air Base". One legacy of the two separate air bases is that the north side of Ramstein retained a separate APO from the south side. The north side (Ramstein AB) is APO AE 09012, while the south side (Landstuhl AB) is APO AE 09009. Also separate Combat Support Groups, the 7030th for the north side, and the 86th for the south side existed. These were consolidated in the 1980s, and the two Combat Support units were merged into the 377th Combat Support Wing. There is still a north and south side Fitness Centers. The current northside Community Center before housed the WAF NCO Club. As well, there were two Movie Theaters on the North side and two on the South side. Currently, only two (still stand on the north side, a remodeled Nightengale Theater (known before as the Four Corners Theater)) on the corner across from the Base Gase Station and the north side AAFES dry cleaners was known as the Ramstein Rocket Theater. On the South side the current Hercules Theater (Falcon Theater) next to HQ 86th Air Wing and a non-existent theater for which new barracks are currently under construction at the corner across the street from Moms/Gear-up shops called the Landstuhler Knights Theater. Near the Ramstein Air Base is the
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) is an overseas military hospital A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment. The best-known type of hospita ...

Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
(LRMC), operated by the
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
. Although part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, LRMC has a separate history and was never a part of Ramstein or Landstuhl Air Bases, although both facilities have utilized the medical facilities at LRMC since they were established in 1953. Currently there are plans on the drawing board from the U.S. Department of Defense to build a new Medical Center on the current U.S. Army Weilerbach Storage Installation just to the east of Ramstein AB. Construction is to begin in early 2012 and to be completed in and around 2024. A twelve-story facility to house all departments of LRMC and the current Ramstein AB Clinic along with Dental Clinic facilities for the whole KMC. In turn, the East Gate to Ramstein AB will be extended from its current location to just off the Autobahn 6 Einsiedlerhof exit to the base at what is known as the Elvis Gate.


Operational history


86th Wing

Reassigned from
Neubiberg Air Base Neubiberg Air Base is a former German Air Force "Always in action" , colours = , colours_label = , march = , mascot = , anniversaries ...
,
West Germany West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG; german: Bundesrepublik Deutschland , BRD) between its formation on 23 May 1949 and the German reunification German reunification (german: Deutsche Wieder ...
in 1952 and except for a period between 1968 and 1973, the
86th Wing
86th Wing
, under various designations, has been the main operational and host unit at Ramstein Air Base. Throughout the 1950s the 86th was primarily a Fighter-Bomber Wing. In 1960, it was realigned to an air defense mission and became the 86th Air Division (Defense). The 86th AD was inactivated in 1968. Returning as an
F-4 Phantom II The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is an American tandem Tandem bicycle Tandem, or in tandem, is an arrangement in which a team of machines, animals or people are lined up one behind another, all facing in the same direction. The origi ...
Tactical Fighter Wing in 1973, the 86th TFW performed that mission until 1994, deploying components to the middle east during the 1990
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
. On 14 August 1976, the
Strategic Air Command Strategic Air Command (SAC) was both a United States Department of Defense (DoD) List of former Unified Combatant Commands, Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) List of Major Commands of the United States Air Force, Major Comm ...

Strategic Air Command
306th Strategic Wing was activated at Ramstein with a KC-135 air refueling and an RC-135 reconnaissance mission. The 306th also functioned as the focal point for all SAC operations in Europe, and as liaison between SAC and USAFE. The wing moved to
RAF Mildenhall Royal Air Force Mildenhall or RAF Mildenhall is a Royal Air Force (RAF) station located near Mildenhall, Suffolk, Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Despite its status as a Royal Air Force station, it primarily supports United States Air Force (USA ...
, England on 1 July 1978. In June 1985, the
316th Air Division The 316th Airlift Division (316th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight unifo ...
was activated, centralizing command authority at Ramstein. The 86 TFW became the division's flight operations arm, while the newly formed
377th Combat Support Wing
377th Combat Support Wing
, also activated in 1985, became responsible for the logistical and administrative support on base, replacing the 86th and 7030 Combat Support Wings. On 28 August 1988, Ramstein Air Base was the site of the tragic
Ramstein airshow disaster The Ramstein air show disaster occurred on Sunday, 28 August 1988 during the ''Flugtag '88'' airshow at Ramstein Air Base Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pf ...
, which killed 72 spectators and three pilots, and injured hundreds. After the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, the 86th was realigned to become the
86th Airlift Wing
86th Airlift Wing
. On 1 July 1993 the 55th Aeromedical Airlift Squadron moved from the 435th AW at
Rhein-Main Air Base Rhein-Main Air Base (located at ) was a United States Air Force air base near the city of Frankfurt, Germany. It was a Military Airlift Command (MAC) and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) installation, occupying the south side of Frankfur ...
Germany to Ramstein. On 1 October, the 75th and 76th Airlift Squadron arrived at Ramstein from the 60th AW at
Travis Air Force Base Travis Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Air Force Base, air base under the operational control of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), located three miles (5 Kilometre, km) east of the central business district of Fairfield, California, ...
California, and 437th AW at
Charleston AFB Charleston Air Force Base is a United States military facility located in the City of North Charleston, South Carolina South Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America (US ...
South Carolina South Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspap ...

South Carolina
, respectively. A year later on 1 October 1994, the 37th Airlift Squadron was transferred to Ramstein from Rhein-Main. In 1999, the activation of the
86th Contingency Response Group
86th Contingency Response Group
brought the airfield and aerial port operations and providing force protection at contingency airfields mission to the wing. On 24 May 2004, the
38th Combat Support Wing The 38th Combat Support Wing is an inactive wing A wing is a type of fin that produces lift while moving through air or some other fluid. Accordingly, wings have streamlined Cross section (geometry), cross-sections that are subject to aer ...

38th Combat Support Wing
was activated to enhance support to USAFE geographically separated units. This wing was inactivated in 2007. The 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing was activated on 4 September 2008. The wing is the headquarters for the existing 721st Air Mobility Operations Group at Ramstein and the 521st AMOG at
Naval Station Rota, Spain Naval Station Rota, also known as NAVSTA Rota, ( es, Base Naval de Rota), is a Spanish-American naval base commanded by a Spanish Rear Admiral. Located in Rota in the Province of Cádiz, NAVSTA Rota is the largest American military community ...
. The 521st AMOW provides an enhanced level of control for the AMC route structure in Europe, which includes critical locations for getting people, cargo and patients to and from current war zones.


26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing

On 7 March 1966, French President
Charles de Gaulle Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (; ; 22 November 18909 November 1970) was a French army officer and statesman who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 19 ...
announced that France would withdraw from NATO's integrated military structure. The United States was informed that it must remove its military forces from France by 1 April 1967. As a result, the
26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing The 26th Information Operations Wing is an inactive United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight uniform ...
, based at Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France and two of its squadrons, the 38th and 32d, equipped with the
RF-4C Phantom II The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a Tandem#Aviation, tandem two-seat, twinjet, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic aircraft, supersonic jet aircraft, jet interceptor aircraft, interceptor and fighter-bomber originally develop ...
were relocated to Ramstein on 5 October 1966. Assigned squadrons of the 26th TRW at Ramstein were: * 38th Tactical Reconnaissance (RF-4C, Tail Code: RR) * 526th Fighter Interceptor/Tactical Fighter (F-102/F-4E (1970) Tail Code: RS) * 7th Special Operation (C-130, C-47, UH-1) While at Ramstein the 26th TRW acquired a number of other units with different flying missions. One function gained by the 26 TRW, almost immediately after arriving at Ramstein, was the maintenance and flying of the HQ USAFE liaison aircraft. In addition, the Wing was responsible for flying members of the HQ USAFE staff to Air Force and NATO bases throughout Europe. In addition, the 26th TRW was only designated as a flight, because of its small size. It consisted of a mixture of aircraft, including: T-29s, T-33s, T-39s, C-54s, O-2s, H-19s, and UH-1s. In 1971 a detachment of the 630th Military Airlift Support Squadron from
Rhein-Main Air Base Rhein-Main Air Base (located at ) was a United States Air Force air base near the city of Frankfurt, Germany. It was a Military Airlift Command (MAC) and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) installation, occupying the south side of Frankfur ...
was assigned to Ramstein and a large cargo aerial port constructed. This allowed
Military Airlift Command A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media L ...
C-141 The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter is a military strategic airlifter that served with the Military Air Transport Service (MATS), its successor organization the Military Airlift Command (MAC), and finally the Air Mobility Command Air Mobility Com ...
and
C-5 GalaxyC5, C05, C V or C-5 may refer to: Military use * Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, a military transport aircraft * C-5 North Star, a 1940s Canadian military aircraft * , a 1906 Royal Navy C-class submarine * , a 1908 United States Navy C class submarine * , ...

C-5 Galaxy
aircraft to use Ramstein as a transshipment point for material, which was then moved within USAFE by
C-130 The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed Corporation, Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, ...
tactical transports. In the spring of 1972, the 7th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) was assigned flying C-130Es, C-47As, and UH-1Ns. Because of the special operations mission of the 7 SOS, it reported directly to HQ USAFE for operational control. As part of operation "Creek Action", a command-wide effort to realign functions and streamline operations, HQ USAFE transferred the 26th TRW from Ramstein to
Zweibrücken Air Base Zweibrücken Air Base was a NATO military 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 (RCAF) and the United States Air Forces in E ...
, and the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing was reassigned from Zweibrücken to Ramstein on 31 January 1973.


NATO command center

From its inception, Ramstein was designed as a NATO command base. In 1957, Ramstein provided support for NATO's HQ Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force, which moved to Ramstein from Trier Air Base on 10 November 1957 upon the closure of that facility. Also on that date, HQ Twelfth Air Force was transferred to
Bergstrom Air Force Base :''For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see Austin-Bergstrom International Airport'' Bergstrom Air Force Base (1942–1993) was located seven miles southeast of Austin, Texas. In its later years it was a major base for th ...
, Texas and was assigned to
Tactical Air Command Tactical Air Command (TAC) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command Major Command or Major Commands are large formation (military), formations of the United States Armed Forces. Historically, a Major Command is ...
. It was replaced by HQ Seventeenth Air Force (USAFE) which was moved from North Africa. In turn, the 17th AF was replaced by its mother unit HQ USAFE from Lindsey Air Station, Wiesbaden, Germany in 1973. The HQ 17th AF was moved to Sembach AB at that time and controlled all USAF Air Divisions and Wings north of the Alps, with the exception of the British Isles and Scandinavia, which were controlled by HQ 3rd AF at Mildenhall. On 31 January 1973, several headquarters were relocated into and out of Ramstein, when Seventeenth AF moved to
Sembach Air Base Sembach Kaserne (formerly Sembach Air Base) is a United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations ...

Sembach Air Base
to make room for the expected move of HQ USAFE to Ramstein. This entire operation, code-named "Creek Action", was carried out as part of the USAF's new worldwide policy of locating the most vital headquarters in thinly populated rural areas rather than near cities. Later, HQ USAFE was moved due to the fact that US Intelligence found that the Soviets had plans to invade Western Europe through the Fulda Gap in Germany. The military thought to move vital HQs on the other side of the Rhein River for protection. As a result of this policy change, Ramstein air base became a large multi-national NATO center: in addition to the USAFE's headquarters, it also housed the new NATO headquarters of the
Allied Air Forces Central Europe Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE) was the NATO command tasked with air and air defense operations in NATOs Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) area of command. History Allied Air Forces Central Europe was activated on 2 April 1951 at Fon ...
(AAFCE). The AAFCE also commanded the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force (2ATAF) and the 4th ATAF. The 4th ATAF, which had been headquartered at Ramstein for many years, included the 1st Canadian Air Group, 1st and 2nd Divisions of the West
German Air Force The German Air Force (german: Luftwaffe, lit=air weapon or air arm, ) is the aerial warfare branch of the , the armed forces of Germany. The German Air Force (as part of the ''Bundeswehr'') was founded in 1956 during the era of the Cold War as t ...
, and units of the USAFE's 3rd and 17th Air Force. HQ USAFE fully completed its move from Wiesbaden to Ramstein early 1991. With USAFE's arrival in 1973, Ramstein entered a period of expansion. The duel commander of the 316th AD / 86 TFW became host commander of Americans living in the Kaiserslautern Military Community instead of the US Army 21st Commanding General. The Wiesbaden USAF Community was then traded to the US Army Control as for an even Kaiserlautern switch. The KMC through the 1950s – to the early 1990s had an average population of Americans of 110,000 outnumbering those Germans in the City of Kaiserslautern for that time.
Allied Air Forces Central Europe Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE) was the NATO command tasked with air and air defense operations in NATOs Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) area of command. History Allied Air Forces Central Europe was activated on 2 April 1951 at Fon ...
was established at Ramstein on 28 June 1974. Ramstein subsequently provided support for other headquarters, including the 322nd Airlift Division which arrived on 23 June 1978, and
SAC SAC or Sac may refer to: Organizations Education * Santa Ana College, California, US * San Antonio College, Texas, US * St. Andrew's College, Aurora, Canada * Students' Administrative Council, University of Toronto, Canada * SISD Student Activitie ...

SAC
's 7th Air Division, which arrived on 1 July 1978. In December 1980, HQ Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force was moved from Ramstein to
Heidelberg Heidelberg () is a university town in the German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (states); commonly informally / federated s ...

Heidelberg
and co-located with HQ Central Army Group. Today, the base is home to the
Allied Air Command The Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) is the central command of all NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental ...
, which is responsible to
Joint Force Command Brunssum Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) is a NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military allian ...
which is the only and main NATO command unit on Ramstein AB.


ADOC Kindsbach

Close to Ramstein was the site of Air Defense Operations Center (ADOC) – Kindsbach, AKA 'Kindsbach Cave' – the site of Europe's underground combat operations center. The facility was located in a former German western front command headquarters. The French took control of the underground bunker after World War II, and USAFE assumed control in 1953. After major renovations, USAFE opened the center on 15 August 1954. The center was a state-of-the-art, 67-room, facility where USAFE could have led an air war against the Soviet Union. The center had a digital computer to work out bombing problems, cryptographic equipment for coded message traffic and its own photo lab to develop reconnaissance photos. Responsible for an air space extending deep behind the
Iron Curtain The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geo ...
, the center interacted directly with
The Pentagon The Pentagon is the headquarters Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States The United States of America ...
, NATO,
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located in Casteau, north of the Belgium, Belgian city of Mons, bu ...
and all USAFE bases. With its massive telephone switchboard and 80 teletype machines, the cave was plugged into everything in the outside world. The center was receiving more than 1,000 calls a day. As a further measure of protection, the cave was fully self-contained with its own
water supply Water supply is the provision of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for ...
, electric backup-generators,
climate control Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical eng ...
s, dining facilities and sleeping accommodations for its 125-man crew. Visitor passes were rarely issued to this secret facility. Throughout the years, leadership changed but USAFE led the operations through numbered Air Forces. The center's commander was the USAFE Advanced Echelon. The glassed-in office was on the top floor of the three-story underground command center. Directly under the office was the management for offensive air operations. And the bottom floor office was the management for defensive air operations – to include support for U.S. Army forces and German Civil Defense. All three offices had a full view of the massive Air Operations Center map on the opposing wall. The AOC was the largest room in the complex. Its three-story map was used to plot minute-by-minute movements of friendly and unidentified aircraft. But the center was much more than just a tracking station, because it could also react to threats. They always knew the current operational status of air weapons in theater including missiles, and could dispatch armed response "at a moment's notice". By the early 1960s, the manual plotting system used to track aircraft at the cave and elsewhere throughout Germany was too slow and inaccurate for the quick responses necessary. Beginning in 1962, airmen trained in the new 412L air weapons control system began to arrive in Germany and at the cave. Over the next year, the new GE semi-automatic system was installed. When complete at the cave, the current air picture over East and West Germany, as well as parts of the eastern soviet bloc countries, was displayed on a 40-foot by 40-foot (12 x 12 m) screen with radar information provided by various 412L sites located throughout Germany. Senior U.S. staff monitored the dynamic display 24/7. Over the next several years, additional 412L sites throughout Germany joined the network until the manual system had been totally replaced. By 1984, the Kindsbach Cave had become too small and its cost for renovation too high. The USAFE vacated the facility and on 31 October 1993, control was returned to the German government and the German government returned the facility to the original owner of the land. Today the Kindsbach Cave is private property, through tours of the cave can be arranged. The cave is overgrown by vegetation, trees, and new housing.


Drone war control center

In April 2015 the Ramstein Air Base was reported by German and international media as an important in the drone war staged under the
Obama administration Barack Obama's tenure as the List of presidents of the United States, 44th president of the United States began with First inauguration of Barack Obama, his first inauguration on January 20, 2009, and ended on January 20, 2017. Obama, a Democr ...
against targets in areas like
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...
,
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...
,
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...
and
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...
. The German government claimed not to have been informed about this function of the U.S. base. In a TV and online documentary, the German
Das Erste Das Erste (; ''The First'') is the flagship national television channel of the ARD (broadcaster), ARD association of public broadcasting corporations in Germany. ARD and ZDF – "the Second" German Television Channel – together comprise the publ ...
channel cited 2014 reports from
Norddeutscher Rundfunk Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR; ''Northern German Broadcasting'') is a public broadcasting, public radio and television broadcaster, based in Hamburg. In addition to the city-state of Hamburg, NDR broadcasts for the German states of Lower Saxony, M ...
, WDR und the
Süddeutsche Zeitung The ''Süddeutsche Zeitung'' (; ), published in Munich, Bavaria, is one of the largest daily newspapers in Germany. History On 6 October 1945, five months after the end of World War II in Germany, the ''SZ'' was the first newspaper to receive a ...

Süddeutsche Zeitung
that revealed Ramstein to be an important hub in the drone war against terror suspects. New data provided by
Edward Snowden Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American former computer intelligence consultant who leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligenc ...

Edward Snowden
affiliate
Glenn Greenwald Glenn Edward Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American journalist, author, and lawyer. In 1996, he founded a law firm concentrating on First Amendment First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may als ...
supported these reports with classified documents from inside the U.S. administration, and were also presented in the
Citizenfour ''Citizenfour'' is a 2014 documentary film directed by Laura Poitras, concerning Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal. The film had its US premiere on October 10, 2014, at the New York Film Festival and its UK premiere on October 17, 2014, at ...
video documentary. The revelation of US drone activities from Ramstein lead to nationwide anti-drone protests under the banner of "Stop Ramstein Air Base". In 2019 three
Yemen ) , image_map = Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a Sanaa ( ar, صَنْعَاء, ' , Yemeni Arabic: ; Old South Arabian: 𐩮 ...

Yemen
is, who lost relatives in a 2012 US drone strike, took legal action against the German government for aiding the breaking of international law by the United States, by tolerating these operations from Ramstein. The German Higher Administrative Court in
Münster Münster (, Low Franconian and nds, Mönster; la, Monasterium, from the Ancient Greek, Greek ''monastērion'', "monastery") is an independent city#Germany, independent city (''Kreisfreie Stadt'') in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is in t ...

Münster
ruled that the German government must take appropriate measures to control whether the US army follows
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
at Ramstein Air Base. But the possibilities of Germany to control US activities on their territory are very limited as the United States have the jurisdiction of Ramstein Air Base.


Illegal arms and munition transports

In 2015, the Serbian newspaper ''
Večernje novosti ''Večernje novosti'' ( sr-Cyrl, Вечерње новости; ''Evening News'') is a Serbian daily tabloid (newspaper format), tabloid newspaper. Founded in 1953, it quickly grew into a high-circulation daily. ''Novosti'' (as most people call it ...
'' reported about Ramstein Air Base being used by the United States Armed Forces to transport arms and munitions to Syria. At the end of 2017, an anonymous US official stated that the US does indeed use Ramstein Air Base to supplement Syrian rebels with arms and munition. The
Cabinet of Germany The Federal Cabinet or Federal Government (german: Bundeskabinett or ') is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , large ...
stated that it did not grant the necessary permits for these transports, nor that it had been informed about them. The public prosecutor's office of Kaiserslautern is currently auditing whether an official investigation should be launched. However, such investigations are complicated by the fact that despite Ramstein Air Base being located on German territory, German officials and politicians are not allowed to enter the base without permission of the US commander. Previous investigations of the Ramstein Air Base, such as the
Abu Omar case Image from the CIA's surveillance of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr recovered during investigations by the prosecuting authority of Milan.
, have proven to be unsuccessful as of yet. Should the investigation about the arms and munition transports be successful, it would constitute a violation of the Germa
War Weapons Control Act


Civilian international airport

In late Summer 2021, Ramstein Air Base became the transfer point for thousands of Afghan civilians fleeing Afghanistan following the
fall of Kabul The Fall of Kabul took place in 2001 during the War in Afghanistan. Northern Alliance forces began their attack on the city on November 13 and made swift progress against Taliban forces that were heavily weakened by American and British air stri ...
back into
Taliban The Taliban (; ps, طالبان, ṭālibān, lit=students or 'seekers'), which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Taliban Islamic Movement and/or Islamic Movement of Taliban is a Deobandi Deobandi ( hi, देव ...

Taliban
hands as U.S. and NATO forces withdrew from the country. Civilian airlines under the
Civil Reserve Air Fleet The Civil Reserve Air Fleet is part of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consist ...
, such as
Delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet * Delta Air Lines, an Ame ...

Delta
,
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...

American
,
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...
and were allowed to land at Ramstein and serve as flights to take Afghan families and other supporters to the U.S. and NATO forces to new lives in the United States. Those that had to stay on the base were well-cared for as makeshift living centers were set up to tend to their needs until they could be processed and provided a flight to the United States.


Based units

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Ramstein Air Base. Units marked GSU are Geographically Separate Units, which although based at Ramstein, are subordinate to a parent unit based at another location.


United States Air Force

US Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) * Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa *
Third Air Force The Third Air Force (Air Forces Europe) (3 AF) is a Numbered Air Force, numbered air force of the United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA). Its headquarters is Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It is responsible for all U. ...
**Headquarters Third Air Force ** *** 86th Operations Group ****
37th Airlift Squadron The 37th Airlift Squadron is part of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western states of Germany, st ...
C-130J Hercules The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop A turboprop engine is a turbine engine that drives an aircraft Propeller (aeronautics), propeller. A turboprop consists of an intake, reduction gearbox, gas compressor, co ...

C-130J Hercules
****
76th Airlift Squadron The 76th Airlift Squadron is part of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. It operates executive airlift aircraft, including the Learjet C-21A and Gulfstream C-37A Gulfstream V. The squadron was first activated during World War ...
C-21A,
C-37A The Gulfstream V (Model GV, pronounced "G-five") is a long-range, large business jet aircraft produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, derived from the previous Gulfstream IV. It flies up to , up to and has a range. It typically accommodates four ...

C-37A
C-40B **** 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron ****86th Operational Support Squadron ***86th Civil Engineer Group ***86th Logistics Readiness Group ***86th Maintenance Group ***86th Medical Group ***86th Mission Support Group ****786th Force Support Squadron ** 435th Air Ground Operations Wing ***4th Air Support Operations Group ****2nd Air Support Operations Squadron ****7th Weather Squadron ***435th Air and Space Communications Group ****1st Air & Space Communications Operations Squadron ****1st Combat Communications Squadron ****1st Communications Maintenance Squadron ***435th Contingency Response Group ****435th Construction and Training Squadron ****435th Contingency Response Squadron ****435th Contingency Response Support Squadron ****435th Security Forces Squadron
Air Combat Command Air Combat Command (ACC) is one of nine Major Commands (MAJCOMs) in the United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, exclud ...

Air Combat Command
(ACC) *
Sixteenth Air Force The Sixteenth Air Force (16 AF) is a (USAF) organization responsible for , which encompasses , , , and operations. Its headquarters is at in . The organization was the first newly established (NAF) by the USAF after . It was activated in 1 ...

Sixteenth Air Force
**
480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing (480th ISR Wing) is headquartered at Langley Air Force Base Langley Air Force Base is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, ...
*** 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (GSU) **** 24th Intelligence Squadron **** 402nd Intelligence Squadron **** 450th Intelligence Squadron **** 693rd Intelligence Support Squadron Air Mobility Command (AMC) * ** 721st Air Mobility Operations Group *** 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight *** 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron *** 721st Aerial Port Squadron *** 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron


US Army

US Army Europe (USAREUR) * 21st Theater Sustainment Command ** Ramstein Gateway Reception Center


NATO

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located in Casteau, north of the Belgium, Belgian city of Mons, bu ...
(SHAPE) *
Allied Air Command The Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) is the central command of all NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental ...
(AIRCOM)


Schools

There are four schools at Ramstein Air Base: Ramstein Elementary School (grades PreK-2), Ramstein Intermediate School (grades 3-5), Ramstein American Middle School (grades 6-8), and Ramstein High School (grades 9-12). All of these schools are run by DoDDS, a component of DoDEA.


In popular culture


Fictional entities

*Lois Lane was born at Ramstein Air Base despite the base opening in 1948 and Lane debuting in 1938.


In films

*Ramstein was the location where Colonel Masters is taken after being rescued by his son in ''Iron Eagle'' (1986 in film, 1986). *Ramstein was the location of the aborted landing of Air Force One when it is hijacked by a group of terrorists in ''Air Force One (film), Air Force One'' (1997 in film, 1997). Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base stood in for Ramstein as the film was shot mostly in the state of Ohio. *Ramstein was the location where Ethan Hunt and his team are given a second chance to retrieve stolen plutonium in ''Mission: Impossible – Fallout'' (2018 in film, 2018)


In games

*Ramstein Air Base appears in the video game ''Tom Clancy's EndWar'' as a possible battlefield. In the game,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
has since collapsed, and the base is controlled by the federal Europe, European Federation. *In ''Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'', Ramstein Air Base suffers a surprise invasion by Russian Ground Forces after a gas attack. *In ''Wargame: European Escalation'', one mission of the NATO campaign takes place in the base.


In literature

*Both Ramstein Air Force Base and the Ramstein air disaster figure as plot points in Donna Leon's second Guido Brunetti novel, ''Death in a Strange Country'' (1993) * The Air Force Base was mentioned in Walter Dean Myers' book ''Sunrise over Fallujah''.


In music

*Rammstein, a German metal band, formed in 1994. They have stated that they take their name from the Ramstein air show disaster; in turn, the asteroid 110393 Rammstein is named after the band. The band's Rammstein (song), self-titled song (on the album ''Herzeleid'' (1995)) refers to the event.


In television

* In ''The West Wing'' episode "Memorial Day", Donna Moss is flown to Ramstein to be treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center nearby. * In ''The West Wing'' episode "Red Haven's on Fire", Air Force Veteran Leo McGarry refers to "Ramstein Air Force Base". * In the Pilot (Homeland), pilot of ''Homeland (TV series), Homeland'', Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody is debriefed in Ramstein after being rescued from an al-Qaeda base in Iraq. * In the ''Madam Secretary (TV series), Madam Secretary'' episode "The Seventh Floor", journalist Colin Mitchell is flown to Ramstein after being released by the Sudanese government. * In ''Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'', chief medical examiner List of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit characters#Melinda Warner, Melinda Warner reveals in season 7's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (season 7)#Episodes, Blast" that she served on the base in the U.S. Air Force during the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
.


Accidents and incidents


Red Army Faction car bombing, August 31, 1981

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) headquarters became the target of a terrorist attack on August 31, 1981, at 7:21 a.m. carried out by a Red Army Faction commando called 'Sigurd Debus'. A total of 20 victims were injured, some being seriously injured.


Ramstein air show disaster, August 28, 1988

The Ramstein air show disaster was a mid-air collision that occurred at the Ramstein Air Force Base during the Flugtag '88 air show on Sunday, August 28, 1988, killing 70 people.


C-5 crash, August 29, 1990

On August 29, 1990, a C-5 Galaxy Transport plane carrying U.S servicemen to the Persian Gulf crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 13 people and injuring 4 others.


Environmental scandal

In 2014 it was revealed that poisonous extinguishing foams (Perfluorinated compound, PFCs) were used on Ramstein Air Base and other US airforce bases in the region. These are now contaminating lakes, rivers and the ground water in the region. In one river the contamination was 7700 times higher than the safety limit of the European Union. These contaminations are linked to cancer and birth defects.DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects
''Military Times'', Retrieved 2018-05-18


Notes


References

*


Further reading

* * * Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM. * Maurer, Maurer (1983). ''Air Force Combat Units Of World War II''. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. . * Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. * * Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. . * Rogers, Brian (2005). ''United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978''. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. .


External links

* {{authority control Airports in Rhineland-Palatinate Buildings and structures in Rhineland-Palatinate Installations of the United States Air Force in Germany Military airbases established in 1953 NATO installations in Germany