Ramstein Air Base is a United States air force base located in German Rhineland. It is NATO’s (National Atlantic Treaty organization) central base for units and trainings as well as the headquarters for United States Air force operation in Europe. The Ramstein Air Base has a large housing community for troops including several hundred single family homes maintained. They also cater 11,000 available properties for rent in the surrounding communities where serviceman can take advantage of the overseas housing allowance. It is called the “little America” because of the 50,000 U.S. personnel living in the area.
Ramstein Air Base is the home the 86th airlift which is the vital service for relaying equipments to battlefields and war zones and is also responsible for transporting injured and wounded people or patients to the nearby army hospital. The 86th airlift is commanded by Brigadier General Mark Dillion. The other operating units in the Ramstein Air Base is the 435th air base wing which provides rapid mobility and agile combat support for military operations under the command of Colonel John S. Shapland, and the 38th combat support wing which handle postal services to security geographically separated units. There are other smaller units in the base and some of them are the ones responsible for the air transport of aero medical mission like the 721st Air mobility group.
History of Ramstein Air base
Ramstein was built in 1951 which was designed by the French engineers with the help of Germans. The successful construction of the 3000 acre U.S. air base was also possible because of the help of some workers from the countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Portugal. The land area of the base was just a swamp that had to be built up by 2 meters and six feet in height level. In 1948, a train line was laid from Einseidlerhof-Kaiserslautern back to the Landstuhl spur in a yolk shape out of an agreement made by the U.S. and French occupational forces. It rose into its current level after 24/7 train operations over a year which moved over the line and spread over the base area. When the ground was already leveled the construction began with French and U.S. Army Corps of engineers led the project design from 1949-1952. Ramstein Air Base located on the north side is used as the headquarters of the NATO and the Twelfth air force. It has facilities to support family housing, commisionary, Base Exchange, schools and administration offices, while the Landstuhl Air Base of the south side was the operational fighter base with hangars, runaways, ramps and air traffic control tower related facilities. It is the largest one spot construction site with over 270,000 Europeans employed. Both air bases were separated until December 1, 1957. In 1958, it was renamed as the Ramstein-Landstuhl air base to form the largest NATO-controlled air base in Europe.
Kaiserslautern area has 11 schools with 500 teaching staff and 7,000 students enrolled which is the largest school district outside the United States operated by the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDs). The Ramstein has 4 schools located in the government housing areas: the Ramstein Elementary school (koalas), Ramstein Intermediate School (jaguars), Ramstein American middle School (rams), and Ramstein High school (Royals).
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center offers in-patient care as well as dental services for non-military members and their families. The availability of the 24/7 Red Cross offices responds to situations concerning death, illness, and other medical emergency which requires assistants. The Red Cross also provides training on basic life support such as first aid, CPR, and babysitting.
An opportunity to have a career or a job is also offered for those talented and determined individuals who are a member of a war fighter’s household. Employment for the U.S. air force military spouse is a priority, in fact, the Airman and family center, offers basic career guidance, assistance in writing resumes and job interview techniques. Although employment in the base is limited, there are opportunities because there are several areas that are open in the Landstuhl area for the civilian medical professionals.
There are many recreational activities and facilities open for those who want to enjoy and relax around the area. There are tournaments for pool table, table tennis, chess, special events, musical instruments, and television room available in their first-class community centers. Ramstein has indoor and outdoor swimming pool and a bowling center with multiple bowling lanes. Outdoor recreation center can supply outdoor equipments for camping, skiing, picnics, backpacking equipments. Extreme sports activities are also present like water sports activities, bicycling, rock climbing and a lot more. The presence of Ramstein’s exchange and commissary has selection of house wares, electronics, toys and games, gardening, and sporting goods. They also have gas stations and movie theaters, refreshment areas, restaurants, cafes, and places like Burger King, Popeye’s chicken, and other pubs that have full product line menus. All of these establishments accept U.S. currencies.
The KMC housing management office will be the one to assist military personnel and their family members as well as civilian employees in securing a home in the base. Most units in the Ramstein are duplexes or apartment type houses which are smaller compared to houses found in the United States. Most of all the government houses were built in the 1950’s as stairwell-type units. Some houses have one, two, or three bedrooms. Rentals off the base are allowed but are costly and do not fall in the traditional American expectation. There is a temporary housing allowance for new comers or new recruits. Members are not allowed to pick their unit of choice but are rather offered the next available unit. The offer of government housing will only take 24 hours for a response of either to accept or decline. Turning down an offer once is allowed but with the second decline will have you removed from the waiting list and you need to re-apply in 90 days.