From the Stars and Stripes archives

Ex-Luftwaffe fliers visit Rhine-Main, view AF planes

Luftwafe veterans inspect an F-84 fighter-bomber, foreground, and C-119 at Rhein-Main.


By JAMES QUIGLEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 26, 1953

FRANKFURT, May 25 — Veterans of the Werner Moelders wing of the World War II Luftwaffe today toured Rhine-Main Air Base where for two months in 1939 part of the wing was stationed.

Of 37 members of the organization visiting the air base during an annual reunion, 25 were combat pilots during the war.

The former fliers were welcomed by Col Laurence B. Kelley, commander of the base and of the 60th Trp Carrier Wing. They received a briefing on the missions of the base and its units.

Heinz Lange, a 35-year-old Cologne lawyer, who was the last wing commander of the wartime unit, was in charge of the reunion group and was accompanied by Jochim Brendel of the German affairs office in Cologne.

The group inspected a C119 and an F84 and were briefed on the planes' operations in German by 1st Lts Konrad W. Troutman, 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing; Luther H. Waechter, 11th TC Sq; and Lorenzo Lafferty, 10th TC Sq.

After a look-see at the static display of aircraft and modern aviation equipment, and witnessing a fly-over by U.S. military aircraft, the veterans were Kelley's guests at the officers club.

Werner Moelders, the commander for whom the fighter-bomber-interceptor wing was named, was a colonel while leading the outfit. He was killed in 1941 while returning from a mission over Soviet Russia.

Former German pilots climb aboard a C-119.

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