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"Optimism (light) is the power that ultimately defeats fear (darkness)."

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Sad Note from the Air Force Association

September 30th, 2005, Rhein Main AFB is no more. It is a sad day for me, many others that have been stationed there, and countless hundreds of thousands that have processed through to get to their duty station. In fact, there are so many memories associated with Rhein Main AFB I think there are tons and tons of content that can fill numerous books!

For me there are several events that mark my days at Rhein Main AFB:

  • A major fire on the first floor rotunda area that resulted in major damage - new furniture being stored is torched by a pyromaniac destroying everything and causing evacuation of the BAQ
  • A Flying Tigers cargo plane has a pallet get loose on take-off, does a wheelie and slides off the runway into some mud - runway is down for about two days (I have photos I'll put here some day)
  • 242 Marines (may they rest) are killed in Beirut, Lebanon and are processed by Rhein Main personnel - the whole base was shaken that day and there were some very mad US Military personnel for quite a long time (ok, I'm still pissed off!)
  • During the Rhein Main AFB Air Show in May of 1983 a Canadian F-104 loses all hydraulics and crashes 10 miles from downtown Frankfurt, destroying a parking lot near an active soccer field, hitting one car killing the six occupants - the pilot stayed with it ALL THE WAY TO THE LAST 100 FT!!! to keep away from Frankfurt, punched out, and survived!
  • More and more opportunity to work closely with the 7th SOS - a huge step up in mission and the beginnings of my contact with AWESOME (aircraft with extraordinary security ops mission expectations)
There are so many more events of which I cannot comment. Not to be flip - I just cannot.

Rhein Main AFB is where I had the opportunity to live on the German economy. I rented an apartment in Langen with two other guys (they were both in the Radar Shop). Two of us bought our first car - a Mercedes 180 with a sunroof. We drove that car into the ground. When that car died I bought a Motobecane 10-Speed and rode to work - even in the freezing rain - through the forest or along the roads near the "pits". I then rented a place on my own in Heusenstamm. I bought a Spitfire 1500 from one of the SSgts in my shop. That convertible that took me all over Germany, until I upgraded to a Dodge Charger 2.2 (sweet). My Charger took me all the way to West Berlin, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and all over Frankfurt. The autobahn ... yeah!!!

I remember the chow hall on Mids. I remember being able to ride my bike under the runway approach and watch 747s fly right over. I remember going to the "pits" to recuperate after a huge night in Sachsenhausen. I remember riding the "Troop Train" to Berlin to play soccer when I was a member of the USAFE Base Soccer League. The game was Rhein Main AFB Soccer Team -vs- Templehauf Air Station Soccer Team (USAF). We lost 'cause Opah (our coach) would not get NEAR East Germany even to get to West Berlin! I remember sleeping on my A-Bag on the flightline after coming back from Flintlock. I remember the base being closed because devices were found on the railroad tracks coming onto the base. I remember driving through the forest to get to the "hangars at the end". I remember Sheet Metal hating me 'cause I found greater than 70% of the Doppler Radome fasteners were out of tolerance (I am sure they wish I never knew what a speed-handle was!). I remember laying under a C-130 on "Charlie" row, in the pouring rain, sealing a radome after an R-Square on the Doppler antenna - and then falling asleep waiting for the OpsCheck to finish with half my body out the cockpit window 'cause the heater was on so HOT that I couldn't feel my arm for 10 minutes!!!

Farewell, Rhein Main AFB. Maybe someday I'll get to visit, as a civilian.

[HT back to Sisyphean Musings - he bought his wedding rings at the BX on Rhein Main AFB - they're still married CONGRATS!!!]

Stay Tuned to ...


At 10/03/2005 05:26:00 PM, Blogger LL said...

I remember during the first Gulf War my best friend and I made 6 or 7 dozen HUGE chocolate chip cookies and gathered about 4 paperbags filled with paperback books and took them to Rhein Main to tent city for all the guys staying there in transit to Kuwait and Iraq. We went to the Red Cross tent and saw a banner with all the signatures and units signed on it. Great memory to this day.

At 10/03/2005 08:28:00 PM, Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

It's really strange, huh?

I also look for Rhein Main whenever I see news bits. There have been times that folks have traveled over to USAFE and they stopped at Rhein Main instead of Ramstein. Good for us! :)

It was such a ... low impact base. No frills, just USAF stuff. It has a huge history, and funny, so does Moffett out here - both were places that created and housed blimps!!!

At 10/04/2005 06:30:00 AM, Anonymous Rachel said...

Rhein-Main will always have a special place in my heart. It was there that I met my best friend and the love of my life... ;) We will never forget RMAB and the wonderful people we met. We worked in a building next to the flight line processing people to head down-range. During our TDY, we were informed our building would be torn down and a parking garage would replace it... It's amazing to think of all the changes that will take place. I can't wait to walk through the expanded airport and think, "I remember when..."

At 10/15/2005 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Sisyphus said...

Thanks for the link (and trackback)!

I was stationed in Worms and Kaiserslautern (1988-1992).

I especially remember "Thunder Runs" up to Frankfurt. Well, "remember" is a relative term ;-)

At 3/29/2008 12:02:00 PM, Anonymous Happy54 said...

My first job was at the 322nd CSG HQ USAFE at Rhein Main in 1971 and 1972. Been to the pits many times, remember seeing Goodbye Columbus and Love Story for the first time, being in love, when people still loved each other. Oh how I miss those good times. At times riding my little orange moped to work, drinking MD 20 for the first time (Yuk) and counting our pennies. Playing table tennis and foosball at the USO was the only entertainment we could effort besides playing guitar, singing songs and listening to Crosby Stills Nash and Young. The bratwurst at the German Kantina were great with pommes frittes with Schaschlik sauce or mayonaise sauce.Hmmm...


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