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Hoppstaedten Army Airfield
(later a.k.a. Boehmer Army Airfield)
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment

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

8th Avn Co

Avn Co, 3rd ACR

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History
 

Boehmer Army Airfield
 
 
 
1957
(Source: Email from Jon Hornbostel, son of Marvin Hornbostel, former member of the 8th Aviation Company, 1957-58)
My father, Marvin Hornbostel, and I would like to contribute to your wonderful website. He served with the US Army in the 8th Aviation Company in 1957-58.

We have found a few photos which he says he took at Baumholder AAF, and are looking for more.

8th Avn Co
Hoppstädten AAF

 

1. Medical Supply

2. Runway and taxiways

3. Flight line


4. Access road

5. Runway

 


1961
(Source: Email from John L. Cahoon)
I was Lt John L Cahoon that was deployed to Germany with the Aviation Co 3rd ACR Oct 1961 during the Berlin Crisis and we occupied Hoppstadten AAF. I was there from Nov 1961 until Aug 1963.

A little history. When I arrived the German Luftwaffe anti aircraft gun emplacements were still off the western end of the runway. The main barracks, mess hall and motor pool were left over from WW II also. This indicates to me that this was a forward Luftwaffe fighter base

As Avn. Co 3 ACR supply officer I was involved in building the Quonset hut which initially became my supply room with a Sergeant Kirshner. Later I am told it was converted to an enlisted club. The term "Happy Valley" was coined by Maj. Duckworth. In the pastures surrounding the valley were the blown up concrete bunkers from the Siegfried line.

We officers were billeted at the (Neubruecke) hospital BOQ which had a small officers club where we took meals and drank every evening. There was no TV and because of a ban on dependent travel at the time we had around 25 geographical bachelors who drank every evening and flew all day.

Most flights were west to points along the border and then back in the same day, weather permitting.

For you aviation types, Hoppstadten AAF only had a radio for commo. The runway was lit but the nearest rotating beacon was Baumholder. There were no Nav aids at either field. One had to find and fly to the Baumholder light then fly a heading of around 270 degrees and hope to pick up the runway lights of Hoppstadten. Night landings with valleys filled with fog and winter landings off to the side in the snow when the runway was ice covered were exciting. All flight patterns were flown opposite from the town.

(Looking at the photo of the airfield - above), the big main hangar of more recent construction -- when I was there was another unit whose name I do not remember. The two smaller hangars to the east were 3 ACR and the operations office/field control radio was located there.

I suspect you have identification on the three main buildings (at the airfield) being the main barracks, the motor pool and the mess hall.

A final story. Recent pictures seem to indicate a newly built factory off the west end of the runway. In 1962 when landing to the east ( I seem to remember runway 090 ) one had to fly the downwind leg across from the village. There were two hills off the west end. At night they were not visible so one had to fly until even with the lights of the bahnhof. At that point you cut power and right turned on to a descending crosswind leg. At this point you lost sight of the lights of the field because you were in the valley between the two hill you could not see. Staying lined up with the lights of the bahnhof you continued to descend until you emerged from the dark valley. At that time you could pick up the lights of the field and turn on to final approach. Not always a comforting approach but one we practiced during daylight for night time use.

Good memories of younger years.

 
1966
(Source: Email from Frank Contreras)
I do not know how Hoppstädten AAF also got its name as Happy Valley but as a 19 year old draftee I was stationed there 1966-67. It maybe because of the Quonset hut called the “Happy Valley Inn” that was behind the barracks.

The airfield was in an idealic location in a raised valley surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. It is located between Baumholder (thousands of GIs) and the Army Hospital Neubruecke (hundreds of GIs) at that time. I saw my first complete change of seasons there. I was raised on a small Island near San Francisco called Alameda. Alameda seldom had snow in fact the only way you knew it was winter, the leaves fell from the trees and it rained a little. The Airfield had one barrack building which had about 50 men.

Across the airfield is a river (stream) that runs parallel to it. It had some nice trout in it. We would picnic there on warm summer days.

At the end of the Airfield there were two guesthouses I visited regularly, one had the best food anywhere and a duckbill bowling alley downstairs. On Rosenmontag the last day before Lent they would throw wonderful parties. You could not buy a drink or food it just showed up. The ladies of the town would put a drink in your hand then drag you to the dance floor. Then just let you rest while the band took a break. The other guesthouse was smaller had great food, on Sunday the guesthouse closed at 10 PM. He would pull the plug on the jut box but you could stay as long as you had beer on the table. We would play cards or checkers turn the radio on low then dance with his wife or daughters sometimes to daybreak if we did not have to work.

Walking distance up the road was the Army Hospital at Neubruecke it had a great USO. People were in there from the time it opened tell closing most days. Guys and gals would come sit in for a few minutes or hours playing music from around America and the world. With two drum sets a dozen guitars, banjos, pianos, and saxophones people were always jumping in to play their rendition of a song.

I took a class to speak German at the Army Hospital in Neubruecke. I learned from the same type of book as the Spanish I had to take while in high school. My folks spoke Spanish at home. I would practice my bad German in all the guesthouses around Happy Valley. With the help of the owners and their clients my German became better then my Spanish.

Oh! The work. I was trained as a generator mechanic by the Army. The work was not hard but it was steady - I polished my skills swapping out engines, replacing fuel pumps, fuel injectors, standing guard, pulling kp, going on blue-streak runs. A blue-streak run is when the command needs a part NOW. We would hop in a jeep, truck, plane or chopper then go get the part like a BLUE-STREAK anywhere in Germany. Once on a blue streak run we were on a narrow cobblestone street going through a little town at dawn. Along the sidewalk walked four shadows of men dressed like the chimney sweeps with their brushes on their shoulders like in the movie Mary Poppins. Well running around Germany for work was fun. For ten bucks I would pull someone’s duty. Truth be known I would have paid them.

We played soccer against some of the Germans in towns around Happy Valley until we learned better. These men in their forties with beer guts would laugh as they ran past with a beer bottle in their hands as we stood bent over our lungs gasping for breath trying to pick our shoes after they had faked us out of them with a fancy dribble.

I was drafted on December 15 1965, eighteen days after my nineteenth Birthday. I had never been out of California, flown in an airplane, driven across Louisiana swamps, stationed in Washington DC, or taken a troop ship across the Atlantic Ocean. I became a Federal Stock Number in Olive Drab Green the Army rolled the dice or pulled my name out of a hat. I was tossed into a briar patch called “happy valley”, Hoppstädten Army Airfield (also known as Boehmer AAF).

I had a great time at the airfield then I was stationed to headquarters company Baumholder Thousands of GIs but that’s another story.

I rotated out of Germany on a early release program. I was home a week before my 21 st birthday. Thanksgiving!


1967
(Source: Email from Ronald Jordi)
I was stationed at Hoppstaedten during the mid 60’s (Sept 1965 - Aug 1967).

I was a crew chief on the OH-13 and the CH34 achieving the rank of SP-5. I have always been fond of my time at “Happy Valley”.

In my beginnings at the airfield I was responsible for doing the “Happy Valley”certificates that were presented to those that were leaving the airfield until I was promoted to Crew chief on an OH-13.

I have been curious of those that were also stationed there and what /where had they gone. One of my two best friends during this time was Aaron Fletcher another CH34 crew chief (named one of my twin sons after) and Robert (Bob) Conley whom I shared off post housing (Hoppstaedten) with him and his wife Sheila and newborn.

I would like to know if any others have contacted this source. Thanks for posting.


 
1995


1995 view of former hangars at Boehmer Army Airfield

 
Aviation Company, 3rd ACR
 
Initially designated as Air Cav Troop, the unit was redesignated (date?) as Aviation Company, 3rd ACR.

1962
(Source: Email from William C. McAlister, Avn Co, 3rd ACR, 1962-64)
I am a retired Army Reserve Officer, rated as a Master Army Aviator.  (I served 3 years on active duty and 19 plus years in the Army Reserve.)  I served in USAREUR from May 1962 to May 1964 as an H-13 and H-34 pilot with Aviation Company, 3d Armored Cavalry Regt.  I have enjoyed your web site and have a few things I can offer.

Avn. Co., 3d ACR operated out of Hoppstädten AAF (also known as Happy Valley - I don't know for sure how or when the name was derived.)  This unit, commanded during most of my tour by MAJ Richard Duckworth, was deployed as part of the 3d ACR to Germany in the fall of 1961 as part of the Berlin Wall crisis buildup.  The 3d ACR was assigned rear echelon security and was under the 7th Army Support Command.

As a brand new Army Aviator, still a 2nd Lt., I observed an historic event in USAREUR Army Aviation in the late summer or early fall of 1962 during a "swan song" field exercise for the nine (9) Trans. Cos. (Lt. and Med. Helicopter) just prior to five (5) of the units becoming part of the Division Aviation Bns. that were being formed.  This group performed a formation fly-by with nine (9) in a row for each of the two (2) H-37 Cos. in the lead followed by the seven (7) H-34 Cos.  (I may have pictures of this fly-by in storage.  I will start sorting these materials in a year or two when I retire. If I locate these pictures, I will forward copies to you.)

Again, I have enjoyed your web site.  You can add that Hoppstadten AAF with Avn. Co., 3d ACR was active in the 1960s.

(Source: Information submitted by Roger Pritts and originally sent to Hanno Englaender)
I served in Germany from December 1963 to December 1966 with the 3rd Armored Cavalry. I lived off post in a rented appartment from a wonderful German Family. Our son was born in the US Army Hospital Neubruecke, Germany May 18, 1965. The Aviation Company 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was the only unit at the airfield. We were a reconnaissance outfit. When I was rotating back to the States they were packing up to be shipped to Vietnam. We use to go to Baumholder for our supplies.

Avn Co
Hoppstädten AAF

 

1. Boehmer Army Airfield, Hoppstädten-Weiersbach, 1995

2. Happey Valley Inn

3. Mess Hall


4. 3rd ACR Bird Dogs

5. Roger Pritss next to O-1

6. U-6A
 

7. Open house

8. Main hangar and various aircraft types flown by the 3rd ACR

9. H-34A
 

10. Aviation Company

11. Service Platoon

12. Hangars, 1995
 

 
1967 
(Source: Email from Jerry Thompson)
At  Boehmer Airfield we had a few H-13s, but mostly the big Sikorskys 34's. It was a long time ago. There were also about two 2 Birddogs and maybe three Beavers. I have a picture  taken in the quonset hut (Happy Valley Inn) in 1967 with 4 of us doing a little light drinking. The hut was directly behind the barracks

I  was  there from Feb 1967 to Nov 1967,  volunteered  for  Vietnam.

I really didn't like being at the unit. I had trained to be a crew chief  for the Huey, but there weren't any assigned to our unit. So, because I could type, they made me the company clerk.

I actually got fired from that job and was put into the POL dump (Petroleum Oil Lubicrant) -- worst job there.

Our commander was Harris E Haynes. He didnt like my attitude, don't blame him a bit. I  wasn't a  very good soldier. He liked to have inspections a lot. 

 
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