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Coleman Army Airfield
USAREUR Aviation

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.


History

USAAMC

70th Trans Bn

45th TAAM Co

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Coleman AAF, Sandhofen - date unknown (Alain Dailloux)
 

Coleman AAF, recent (Mike Smith)
 
History
 

Coleman AAF, 1962 (Michael von Aschberg)
 
1963
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 7, 1963)
Coleman Army Airfield is the busiest Army airfield in USAREUR. Army aircraft from units in Germany, France, Italy and from military advisory assistance groups (MAAGs) in Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia and the Congo fly into the airfield for depot-level repairs at the Army Aviation Maintenance Center (located at Coleman).

The airfield's Air Traffic Control Section handles up to 150 aircraft each day, over 3,500 a month. Each plane or helicopter landing at or taking off from the airfield is handled separately by the ATC section. In addition, aircraft passing though the airfield's control zone must be cleared by the section to avoid possible collisions with other airplanes or helicopters operating in the area.

Coleman Airfield GCA (ground control approach) handles as many as 500 of the 3,500 aircraft every month. This section guides aircraft during landings at the airfield during bad weather or when fog (or smog) envelopes the airfield.

 

Flight Operations, Army Avn Maint Cen, 1962 (Michael von Aschberg)
 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 22, 1963)

Army Aviation Maintenance Center

  The Army Avn Maint Cen (AAMC) provides depot-level maintenance and repair of Army aircraft in USAREUR and several MAAGs.

AAMC was originally established in 1955 as the Army Aircraft Supply Center. At that time, the unit was a direct support outfit that provided third echelon maintenance and supply to Army aviation units in the field (7th Army). In the past eight years, AAMC has grown to an organization capable of supporting all Army aircraft throughout half of the Free World.

For more, see Page 4 - Aviation Maintenance & Supply Organizations, Army Aviation.



Photo: Entrance to base operations building, Coleman AAF, 1962.

(Source: Email from Joe Masterson)
I received your web page from a friend in my search for information.

I was stationed at Coleman from June 1970 to June 1971. I was a GCA Radar Repairman assigned to the Radar at the Air Field. I guess I'm getting old because I can not remember the Unit Designation at that time. If you could help with that information I would greatly appreciate it.

The radar was an AN/FPN-40 Fixed Navigational Radar. It was painted Orange and White and was installed off the side of the runway next to the railroad tracks. There were two orange and white trailers that housed the radar equipment and other storage. There was also room for a small support shop included.

It was staffed by German and American Military Radar Controllers and the maintenance and repair of the radar was done by American Military.

I recently joined the HONOR GUARD in eastern Tennessee. We provide the necessary people for Full Military Funerals in our area. I am in the process of re-constructing my old Dress Uniform for this assignment. I am at a loss for recalling the unit designation and the unit patch that I wore during my tour at Coleman. If you have any information please send it to me.

 
45th Transportation Army Aviation Maintenance Company
 
Frescaty Army Airfield, Metz, France
 
1952
(Source: Email from Edward Landry, 45th OLAM, 1952-54)
I joined the 45th Ord Light Avn Maint Company (OLAM) at Fort Bragg NC, in the spring of 1951, fresh from Fort Sill. as a newly minted Army Aviator, as well as an AF Liaison Pilot.   The 45th OLAM, commanded by Captain Frank O Perry was assigned to a Fort Bragg Ordnance Bn. I was assigned as the Executive Officer.  

The company was alerted for a USAREUR assignment during the summer and we trained in the old Balloon Hanger area in the vicinity of Pope AFB.. The company consisted of about 93 aviation personnel at the time, most of which had significant experience in aviation field maintenance. Ordnance POM staff personnel told us that we were training for a very important aviation mission in USAREUR.  

During the winter of 1951 I took the Advance Party of the company, consisting of 4 senior NCOs’, to USAREUR to arrange for the arrival of the main body in the spring of 1952. Upon arrival, the company was assigned to an Ordnance Bn. in Germany, but with duty station at the USAREUR Advanced Communications Zone Command (ADSEC) in Verdun, France. At that time, ADSEC was commanded by Brigadier General W. W. Ford, one of the early founders of Army Aviation and known then as the “Father of Army Aviation.”  

Ed Landry, 45th OLAM, in an L-17 at Frescaty Airfield
 

The 45th OLAM was initially quartered in the Gribevaul Caserne in Verdun, France and upon arrival, much to our dismay, it was determined that the unit did not have an aviation mission. Rather, it was a time when the Army was moving all its depot facilities west of the Rhine. Since we did not have an aviation mission, company personnel were utilized as stevedores, moving ordnance material and equipment into new depot facilities. Morale immediately plummeted and it was determined that immediate action was needed if the company was to survive as a unit.  

Capt. Frank O. Perry, the CO. verbally discussed this situation briefly with the Ordnance Bn. Commander in Germany and as a result, by Company Order, moved the company from Verdun in the early dawn of a spring morning to the Frescaty Airfield in Metz, ostensibly on an extended field maneuver .  

The Frescaty Airfield was a NATO airfield under construction and consisted of a single runway and taxiways suitable for a squadron of French Air Force Mystere fighter jets. Vertical construction on the American assigned side of the airfield consisted of a dilapidated warehouse and separate hangar where a small detachment of U. S. Army personnel were maintaining 21 L-5 aircraft in flyable storage as the USAREUR war reserve.   The company pitched tents in a field adjacent to the airfield and took on the mission of maintaining the war reserve aircraft and improving the hangar and warehouse facilities sufficient to conduct aviation field and general support maintenance. Company moral immediately soared.  

Additional personnel were assigned to include the commander of the detachment, Lt. Ned McCord, Lt. Ray Cumb and two second liutenants, Lendrum and Forester. Shortly thereafter the 45th OLAM assumed a USAREUR aviation general support role, providing back up support for the 93rd OLAM in Echterdingen and the 30th OLAM in Hoppstätten, Germany.  

During this period the USAF provided Army Aviation depot maintenance and supply support from their depot in Chateauroux, France. The 45th OLAM interfaced with the USAF Chateauroux depot and early on established a 45 day level of aviation spare parts at Frescaty from which the 93rd and 30th OLAM sister companies drew their 30 day level of spares. As the hangar facility became viable, the 45th OLAM began line hauling boxed H-13 model helicopters from the USAF Chateauroux Depot facility to Frescaty where they were assembled, test flown and issued to the 93rd and 30th OLAM companies for subsequent distribution to 7th Army units. More than 35 H-13 model helicopters were assembled during the period and the crates the helicopters came in were modified and became general support maintenance service facilities alongside the hangar.

During this same time period, responsibility for Army Aviation logistics transferred from the US Army Ordnance Corps to the US Army Transportation Corps and the company and its sister companies in Germany became US Army Transportation Army Aircraft Maintenance Companies (TAAMs).

During the 1953-1954 period, the company provided general support maintenance for aircraft and components that were beyond the capability of the 93rd and 30th TAAM companies. During this same period, all the USAREUR war reserve L-5 aircraft were replaced with new L-19 model aircraft. The older L-5s were flown to Erding AB in Germany by company personnel, where they were disassembled and subsequently returned to CONUS. Twenty one new L-19 aircraft consisting of the USAREUR war reserve were received and maintained in flyable storage at the Frescaty airfield facility until late 1954 when they were flown by company personnel to a small airfield at Laroche-Sur Yon in southern France.

During the 1953-54 time period the 45 th TAAM personnel, in conjunction with the USAREUR Headquarters Logistics Division, established a contract with Sabena Aircraft Corporation at Brussels to provide depot maintenance for all the old war-weary L-17 model aircraft in USAREUR. USAREUR. L-17s from Germany and Austria were flown to the 45th TAAM where they were prepared for a one-time flight to Brussels. These aircraft then received a complete overhaul known as the Depot Inspection Record (DIR) , and the aircraft were restored to “like new” condition. This is probably one of the last contracts of its type as shortly thereafter USAF and U.S Army depot maintenance policy was changed to the “Inspect, Repair, Only as Necessary" (IROAN) concept. Approximately 25 L-17 aircraft were inducted into this program.  

I left the 45th TAAM in the fall of 1954 and I understand that shortly thereafter the unit was relocated to Sandhofen, Germany where it became part of the USAREUR Army Aviation Depot as it was subsequently known.   I had the good fortune to be subsequently assigned to the U.S. Army Transportation Command in St. Louis commanded by Gen. Bill Bunker. This command became the nucleus of the first U. S. Army Aviation Logistics Command and free from the USAF yoke for logistics support. At the attachment is yours truly and one of the war weary L-17s inducted into the DIR program.

Coleman Army Airfield, Sandhofen, Germany
 
1955
(Source: Email from John Mueller)

I have searched for info on this unit (45th TAAM Company) that I was stationed with from the Fall of 1953 until Jan of 1955. We were stationed in Metz, on its outskirts. I believe they called the airstrip Frescaty.

I was a draftee and spent most of my time keeping records on Helicopters and Fixed Wing planes in the Maintenance Office. At one time our Battalion Commander was a Col Bowen.

Right before I left for home we moved the whole outfit to Mannheim, Germany. I never did much in Mannheim as I was about over my tour of duty.

I see that Manheim is listed as Army Aircraft Maintenance Co but nothing before 1955. I will try to find something in my old papers but don't count on it.

I also remember a Lt. Forster who was a pilot.I was a Corporal.

I really enjoy reading some of the history. By the way I took my training in San Marcos Air Force Base in San Marcos, Texas. It has of course been closed for a while.

(Webmaster note: Once in Sandhofen, the company was reorganized and redesignated as a Transportation Army Aircraft Heavy Maintenance and Supply Company.)


 
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