Spangdahlem Turns 60

Today marks 60 years of partnership between the United States and Germany at Spangdahlem AB.

Base members and their German guests commemorated the historic milestone with demonstrations of the 52nd Fighter Wing’s capabilities and recognition of the international cooperation needed to maintain airpower within Europe.

“Today’s ceremony is meant to honor our two nations and is symbolic for the unity that can be seen on a daily basis and that will continue for many years,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Julazadeh, 52nd FW commander. “Spangdahlem Air Base was built 60 years ago, initiating a long, distinguished and fruitful relationship with our hosts in the Eifel. Thanks to the efforts of many through the years, our friendship has grown and strengthened, enabling us to reach this momentous milestone for both of our communities.”

The base officially became operational May 10, 1953. Since then, Americans and Germans here have worked together to gain a mutual understanding and appreciation of the differences in culture. The fledgling partnership began developing agreements ranging from flightline operations and the associated noise, to off-base housing in the local area. In the 60 years since, more than 300,000 military members have lived and worked at Spangdahlem AB.

“This event is to show the Germans what we have here and what we do,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Gower, 81st Aircraft Maintenance Unit exhibit demonstrator. “Some Germans just simply don’t know. They let us in their country, so as a token of gratitude, during this ceremony, we’ve invited some people onto the base to show them what we do.

“They see these aircraft fly every day,” he continued, “but they never get a chance to see them up close. This is our chance to show our appreciation to them.”

Among the many exhibits were a security forces military working dog demonstration, an emergency medical capability test, and static displays of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. Military experts stood by their displays to help guests with questions about the equipment or Spangdahlem’s history and its relationship with Germany.

“Sixty years is a significant timeframe for German-American relations,” said Roger Lewentz, German Minister of the Interior, Sports and Infrastructure for the State of Rhineland-Palatinate. “Americans in Germany changed from opponents and members of the occupying force to decades of allies, partners and, finally, friends.”

At the closing ceremony, Julazadeh thanked the efforts of both countries’ representatives for the growth and strength of the current partnership. He said he believes the next 60 years will hold further successes.

To view the Flickr photo set, click here.

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