Zweibrücken Air Base



26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing

Zweibrucken Air Base

38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron RF-4C photo of Zweibrücken Air Base, photographed on September 18, 1979.

Zweibrucken Air Base Gate

Zweibrücken Air Base Gate

Last RF-4Cs leave Zweibrucken

The last RF-4Cs leave Zweibrücken on 12 April 1991.


This former Royal Canadian Air Force Station named after the city of Zweibrücken was established by the RCAF in January of 1953. Originally built by French Army engineers and German contractors, construction started in 1950 along a section of the former Siegfried Line. The 3d Wing, RCAF assumed control and operated RCAF Stn Zweibrucken as a fighter base for 16 years until 27 August 1969 when the base was transferred to the Sixteenth Air Force, USAFE. The United States Air Force renovated and enlarged all base facilities, and renamed the base Zweibrücken Air Base. The familiar TAB VEE aircraft shelters were added in 1970-71.

Zweibrücken Air Base was host to the 86th Tactical Fighter Wing from November 1969 to January 1973 with the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance and--in 1971--the 81st Tactical Fighter Squadrons as flying units. On 31 January 1973, the 86th Wing was replaced at Zweibrücken by the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing from Ramstein Air Base while the 86th moved into the 26th's old digs at Ramstein. The 17th Tac Recon Squadron remained at Zweibrücken to be joined by the 38th Tac Recon Squadron. The 17th TRS eventually stood down in 1978 leaving the 38th TRS as the 26th Wing's sole assigned flying unit. The 86th Wing returned in April 1979 and remained until July while runways at Ramstein Air Base were closed for repairs.

On 9 November 1983, Headquarters Military Airlift Command activated a new flying unit at Zweibrücken: the 10th MAS. On 15 January 1984, the newly reactivated and redesignated 10th Military Airlift Squadron began operating 18 Short Bros C-23A Sherpa aircraft from Zweibrücken to provide regular daily logistics support flights to USAFE bases as part of the European Distribution System (EDS).

In 1990, as part of Operation Proven Force (deployment of USAFE assets to Turkey to open a "second front" and divert some of Iraq's air defense resources), the 38th TRS moved to Incirlik to support Operation Desert Storm flying more than 100 tactical reconnaissance missions over Northern Iraq. First combat ops began on 18 Jan and concluded after the 28 Feb ceasefire; units began redeploying from Incirlik by 9 March. By 4 April, the 26th TRW and the 38th TRS had been deactivated, and their RF-4C "Recon Rhinos" were on their way to AMARC storage.

With the conclusion of Desert Storm and the fall of the Berlin War, the thawing of Cold War animosities soon brought about more USAFE drawdowns and the closure of Zweibrücken Air Base and Hahn Air Base. On 30 September 1993, the Entwicklungsgebiet Flugplatz Zweibrücken GmbH (EFZG) or roughly, the Zweibrücken Airfield Development Area Limited Liability Corporation was established to convert the former air base to productive civilian uses. The first civil aircraft landing at Zweibrücken (a DC 3 named "Baby" arriving from Chicago) occurred on 28 May 1994, three months before official approval.

Flughafen Zweibrücken officially opened as a commercial airport on 1 September 1994.

The KMC Eagles Ice Hockey team plays right next to the old air base.

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Page Updated: 2012-06-29 07:42:30
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