Army Airfield Finthen (English Version)

The U.S. Military Era (translated by Lynne M. Smith)

Through massive renovations and additions, the U.S. military built up the airfield at Finthen, which eventually became Finthen Army Airfield. U.S. soldiers were an integral part of the Finthen community and economy. Though nothing lasts forever, the reduction in forces at FAAF, was a great shock to the local community and economy.

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, in partnership with NATO, the U.S. Army uses the former air base known as Finthen Airfield. The airfield was originally occupied by the French military. The details of the transition from the French military to the U.S. military are unclear, but there is evidence to suggest that as early as 1958, parts of the airfield were being occupied by the U.S. military. U.S. military units used the airfield for military demonstrations and training. These units included the 559th Field Artillery Missile Bn in 1957, B Battery of the 46th Artillery Group (Redstone) in 1959, and the C-Battery of the 84th Field Artillery Regiment 3rd Bataillons (Pershing).

In 1961, the first U.S. units are officially relocated to Finthen. Both he 41st Transportation Battalion and the 245th Transportation Company, part of 7th Aviation Group, transferred to Finthen in January 1961 from Mannheim. The units missions included, maintenance and repair work, as well as air support for all units of the 7th AVN . These units supported H-34 Chocktaw (Army) or Seahorse (USMC) and H-37 Mojave cargo helicopters. The 7th Army Transportation Depot moves to Finthen as well in 1961. In July of 1961, the 91th Transportation Company, with a light helicopter unit is transferred to Finthen from Munich.

In August 1961, the world is facing a new war. The Berlin Wall is built. Finthen back again in a mobile missile units with Redstone rocket. On the website - my army redstone days - the veteran Chuck Thompson describes his feeling impressively:

"I also remember the alert when the Berlin Wall was built - we went out to the storage area Finthen, withdrew all of our reserve was (tactical) missiles and warheads and our lined up, ready to go somewhere Before we actually went anywhere. , of course, the order came to stand down. I remember our families were also alerted to pack some stuff, in case the balloon went up and they had to be evacuated. Scary times, though remembering how close we might have come is probably more scary now than we recognized at the time. "

The translation (by the author) is:

"I remember the alarm when the Berlin Wall was built. We moved to Finthen, with all our all our (tactical) missiles for the war and reserve warheads, lined up and ready to go (with us) to go somewhere. Before we were going somewhere, the order was to remain in Finthen. I remember that our families were also alerted to pack their belongings in the event that it is serious and must be evacuated. A terrible time, when we remember how close we were to it (the war) and even more terrible, when we remember today at this time. "

1963 received in the course of a reorganization, any road including a Division Aviation Battalion and the Air Cavalry Troop. Finthen for the 8th Infantry Division Army Airfield (Mechanic), is responsible with the nickname "Pathfinder". The 8th Inf Div (Mech), with headquarters in Bad Kreuznach is part of V Corps, based in Frankfurt. Your are the 8th Aviation Battalion (Avn Bn) and the "D" Troop, 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry (D Troop 3 / 8) associated with the nickname "Sky Cavalry". The 8th Avn Bn divided into alpha, beta and HQ (headquarters) Companys, is where the B Company, stationed in Bad Kreuznach. Stationed in Finthen A-Company is identical with the former 91.Transport Company, it was just renamed.

Tasks are the transport of troops and the general support of the armed forces. This maintains the 8th Avn Bn appropriate command and control structures. The Air Cavalry Troops are the first pure combat units of the Army, their helicopters are all armed. They take in conjunction with infantry and other units of the traditional role of cavalry. In addition, there are still following secondments, or from different departments, larger units in Finthen. The exact duration could still be partly not clearly established, but these units should be mentioned for completeness.

            the 708th Maintenance Company F, a maintenance unit. She later becomes the D-Company of the 8th CAB (Combat Aviation Battalion).
            a department of the 91st Ordnance Company (Redstone). The 91te is a mobile missile unit is equipped with medium-range ballistic missile Redstone. It is subordinate to the 46th Artillery Group, the unit which was already the end of the 50s as part of demonstrations in Finthen.
            A division of the 14th Aviation Company (ATC) to air traffic control (Airtraffic Control)
            A division of B Company, 8th Battalion Medical to medical care
            The 12th Weather Squadron, 7th Division of the Meteorological Service
            Different platoon of military police (including 2nd Platoon, 527th MP)

While the American presence Layenhof is apparently used as a target during military exercises. 1963 at least the Baroque manor house is badly damaged, but still visible there. 1964/65, this seems also to be the case yet.

1965 made by the Federal Republic of Germany, the renovation of the existing premises of the airport. At the same time more buildings were erected, including billets, a theater, a pharmacy, more hangars, a chapel and housing for families (Family Housing Area).

1967 in connection with the Vietnam War, the divisions among Aviationbattalions put out of service, including the 8th Aviation Battalion in Finthen. The precise assignment of Finther airfield is currently unclear. It seems that all other units to remain in Finthen. The Sky Cavalry has been documented for this time in photos.

1968 made under the existing state of knowledge of the demolition of the estate Layenhof due to disrepair of the ruined compound. Today there is hardly anything above ground. Only the park with the most majestic redwood reminder of the once proud farming estate.

1969 laid the 295th Aviation Company (Heavy Helicopter) and support the unit 326th Transportation Detachment from Fort Sill, Oklahoma to Finthen. They are equipped with CH-54A helicopters, nicknamed the "Flying Crane / Flying Crane" and then enter "sky crane / Skycrane". You can carry enormous loads up to about 11 tons. In 1973, stationed in Finthen Skycrane in a ceremony held each the name of a German sister city transfer. In the presence of the Lord Mayor of Jockel Fuchs helicopter 68-18461 receives the name "Browns". In the same year, the transportation department 326te is disabled. Their staff and their tasks are assigned to the 295th Avn Co.

1973 moved the 205th Aviation Company (Geronimo) of Fort Benning, Georgia to Finthen. It is equipped with CH-47 "Chinook" transport helicopter equipped to be named because of their characteristic appearance in the population only "banana helicopter". The 205te the V Corps is directly subordinate task is to carry out special assignments in support of the U.S. Army in Europe. The 205te is placed out of service in 1988.

1978, on 21 September, will enable the 8th Combat Aviation Battalion in Finthen. In the literature it is abbreviated differently, sometimes as a Combat Aviation Battalion 8th CAB = 8th Avn Bn or as (CBT). It means the same thing. The 8th CAB has now primarily a combat mission. Task is to destroy enemy forces. The battalion is divided into 5 companies with a total of 116 helicopters. The Alpha Company (support unit) with 41 helicopters will be stationed in Baumholder and Bad Kreuznach. Remain in Finthen 4 companies, the two assault companies, the Bravo and Charlie Company, Attack Attack Company. You were a total of 42 AH-1S Cobra / Tow, 6 UH-1 and 28 OH-58 helicopters. The Delta Aviation Maintenance Company (AMC) was formed from the former 708th Maintenance Battalion. The latter was thus placed out of service simultaneously. Task is still the maintenance. Also, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (in the figurative sense of the rod and the staff company) are stationed in Finthen.

1978 Queen Elizabeth II visited Mainz. Previously, she landed her helicopter on the Finthen Army Airfield and was received among others by the Rhineland-Palatinate Minister President Bernhard Vogel and the Lord Mayor of Mainz Jockel Fuchs. The Finther are a little disappointed because the motorcade of Queen does not go through Finthen. She leaves the airport on the road through the upper forest Olmer. Only on the way back, she drives through Finthen. Among other things, the riding and Fahrevrein stands with his horses trellis.

1980 Pope John Paul II visited Mainz and holds on 16 November a Mass at the purpose-ADAPTED Finther airfield. As the site is the oldest deputy division commander Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. is responsible for its safety. Schwarzkopf, later became the second Gulf War in 1990 as the General Operations Desert shield and Desert Storm. About 200,000 faithful are taking part, despite poor weather on the show.

1986, a further restructuring. The 8th Combat Aviation Battalion will be decommissioned on 11 April by the 4th Brigade replaced. Simultaneously, a renaming of the existing companies as follows.

Previous designation> New Unit
HHC, 8th Avn Bn (C)> HHC, 4th Bde
A Co, 8th Avn Bn (C)> 240th Avn Co GS
B Co, 8th Avn Bn (C)> 8th ATTK Hel Bn
C Co, 8th Avn Bn (C)> 18th ATTK Hel Bn
D Co, 8th Avn Bn (C)> Trans 55th Avn Maint Co
E Co, 8th Avn Bn (C)> 4th Cbt Avn Co
3rd Sqdn, 8th Cav> No change

Already in September 1987 once the restructuring takes place, the divisions are integrated into a new government structure. The units will be renamed again.

Previous designation> New Unit
8th ATTK Hel Bn> 2nd Bn, 4th Avn
18th ATTK Hel Bn> 3rd Bn, 4th Avn
GS 240th Avn Co> Co G, 4th Avn
4th Cbt Avn Co> Co H, 4th Avn
55th Trans Avn Maint Co> Co I, 4th Avn
3rd Sqdn, 8th Cav> 3rd Sqdn, 7th Cav

1986/87 is a major change for the Finther population. In the course of the war against Libya, the area is fenced and closed off militarily. The popular route with walkers can no longer be used. Even the Finther farmers suffer. You may enter the premises only by driving with a permit.

1988 is again a restructuring. Units from the 4th Brigade, in addition, the Task Force Skyhawk is formed. This yields the following structure, which persists until the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces:

4th CAB, 8th Inf Div, consisting of:
Name - location
2nd Bn, 4th Avn - Finthen AAF
3rd Bn, 4th Avn - Finthen AAF
TF Skyhawk - Finthen AAF
Co G, 4th Avn - Finthen AAF
Co H, 4th Avn - Erbenheim
Co I, 4th Avn - Finthen AAF
3rd squadron, 7th Cav - Sandhofen

1992, increasing by over 30 years of presence of fast and ceremonial departure of the Americans, who had actually planned for 1993. No longer need utensils of all kinds will be auctioned publicly.


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