The Wiesbaden Army Airfield will open its gates to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday for a German-American open house marking the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.
The event, which is being held in conjunction with the city of Wiesbaden, will include static aircraft displays, appearances by airlift veterans, a parachute jump, helicopter flights and re-enactments of the candy drop that became one of the highlights of "Operation Vittles," as it was called by its participants. There will also be musical entertainment throughout the day.
Visitors will be required to take shuttle buses to the base. The buses are free for Department of Defense ID card holders and will depart every 20 minutes starting at 9:30 a.m. from Aukamm housing, two stops in Crestview housing, three sites in Hainerberg housing, the Hainerberg Army Community Center, Mainz-Kastel Station and Mainz-Kastel Housing. Last shuttle leaves the airfield at 7 p.m.
For those without ID cards or those wishing to pick up the bus off-base, there will be stops at Real Nordenstadt, METRO in Mainz-Kastel and the Platz der Deutschen Einheit in Wiesbaden. Those passengers will have to buy a round-trip ticket for 3.55 euros for adults and 2.25 euros for children. More details at http://www.usaghessen.eur.army.mil/ba/ba.htm.
Wiesbaden served as the logistical center of the airlift as home to the headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Europe and the Combined Airlift Task Force, according to a news release from the open house’s organizers.
The airlift was in response to a blockade of West Berlin by the Soviet Union, which controlled eastern Germany after the country was divided at the end of World War II. The siege was aimed at starving out the residents and foreign troops in West Berlin, which was under the control of the remaining Allies, and blocked access to the city by land and water.
Flying from airfields in Wiesbaden, Rhein-Main, Celle and Fassberg, the Allies transported more than 2 million tons of goods in more than 277,000 flights in and out of Berlin between June 26, 1948, and May 12, 1949.