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The Canadians are coming to Spangdahlem.

The U.S. Air Force will let Canada’s armed forces use the air base in the picturesque German countryside as the first of what is expected to be several hubs to help support Canadian troops stationed around the globe — including its forces in Afghanistan.

"With the mission in Afghanistan, we have experienced the challenges of maintaining a 12,000-kilometer supply chain and it hasn’t been easy," Maj. Gen. Daniel Benjamin, commander of Canadian Operational Support Command, said in a news release. "Our first priority was in Europe in the development of what will eventually be a network of hubs worldwide to meet any contingency that causes our government to deploy troops."

Canadian officials said they envision Spangdahlem being a test bed for establishing a system of seven hubs. They expect to have additional hubs somewhere on the east and west coasts of Africa, in Southeast Asia, West Asia and East Asia.

Those hubs would be places where Canadians could do tasks such as change crews on long flights, pick up supplies and perform other logistical tasks.

"There are a couple of reasons we started to move ahead on getting a hub in Germany," said Lt. Col. Tom Gibbons, who works in the Canadian Operations Support Command Headquarters in Ottawa. "We send aircraft from eastern Canada, and Germany is a good location to touch down to change crews and pick up equipment and supplies we may have procured in Europe. Spangdahlem for many reasons is an excellent location for that."

The Spangdahlem hub could be operational by late summer, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Roy Bacot, an exchange officer who works in the Canadian Operations Support Command Headquarters. Canadians will be based at Spangdahlem on three-year tours, he added.

Canadian officials did not specify how many of troops would be based at Spangdahlem, and the final arraignments for them to use the base are still being hammered out.

"Spangdahlem’s support for a Canadian hub would consist of refueling their aircraft and providing lodging for their aircrews. Operating hours of the airfield here will not be affected," U.S. Air Force Col. Lee T. Wight, commander of the 52nd Fighter Wing, said in a statement.

Although Spangdahlem is a fighter base, it will make a good hub because its runways are big enough to handle C-5s, and it is capable of accommodating the four C-17s the Canadians bought, which they call CC-177s, said Bacot, who is also a C-17 pilot.

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