An era has ended
The US formally handed over Rhein-Main Air Base yesterday. It was a hub for US military forces during the Cold War. That age is over, and these rollbacks are necessary.
Update- Mudville Gazette has an excellent post on the base and its history.
Open Post- California Conservative and Basil's Blog
FRANKFURT, Germany - The United States formally handed Rhein-Main Air Base over to the German government Monday, ending a 60-year stay during which the sprawling field was a hub of activity for American forces facing Soviet bloc troops and Mideast tensions.
Gen. Robert Foglesong, commander of the U.S. Air Force in Europe, called it "a grand old base with a lot of history," but said moving operations to other bases in Germany was necessary to save money.
Rhein-Main saw a steady stream of planes fly supplies to West Berliners in the late 1940s to break the Soviet blockade of the city. A decade later, it bade Elvis Presley farewell after his Army service, and still later welcomed American hostages from Iran and wounded U.S. forces returning from the Middle East.
"It's like a funeral," said retired Col. Gail Halvorsen, 85, who was one of the Berlin Airlift pilots.
But, he added, "we're not here to cry, we're here to honor and pay homage to all the people on the ground and in the air who made it possible to supply a city of over 2 million people."
Instead of the constant landings and takeoffs of C-130s, F-16 Fighting Falcons and the gargantuan C-17s ferrying tons of supplies and thousands of troops worldwide, Rhein-Main Air
Base has gone quiet, nearly devoid of activity as it prepares to shut down. The handover, based on a 1999 U.S.-German agreement, will take until the end of the year.