Hahn Air Base
Hahn Air Base was located in the Hunsruck region of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, specifically in the small community of Kirchberg (pop. 4,000). Largely rural and undeveloped, the Hunsruck is situated roughly between the urban centers of Mainz to the east, Luxembourg to the west, and Cologne to the north.
Before the French forces founded an air base on the site in 1951 the area was farmland, and most of the area surrounding the base remains farmland to this day. In 1952, the United States took over the installation and began to erect the seventh largest US Air Base in Europe and the second largest in Germany. At the end of the Cold War, the base supported more than 13,000 people and three squardrons of F-16 fighter jets.
Situated away from the front line of the Cold War, Hahn was a major part of the United States close-knit, continental European air power center. The United States other major German Air Bass of Zweibrucken, Ramstein, Sembach, Bitburg and Rhein-Main are all within 60 miles (100 Kilometers) of Hahn. Beyond their location in the heart of US troop concentrations, these Air Baes were well situated to reach all locations within Europe and the Mediteranean region.
When the Cold War threat of an invasion of West Germany subsided, the United States was left with a huge excess capacity of expensive air fields. In 1991, the Air Force announced it would make major reductions at Hahn. The Desert Storm conflict provided an excellent transition for the fighter aircraft at Hahn, and F-16s assigned to the Persian Gulf returned straight to the United States after completing their mission. The soldiers departed Hahn two years later. On September 30, 1993, most of the facility was returned to civil German authorities. The United States continued to operate a very small ammunition dump, two radio stations, and some recreational facilities in one corner of the sprawling base, but the ammunition dump closed in 1995.
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