Erding--like many of the early post-WWII U.S. Army Airfields in the American
Sector--was a former Luftwaffe Airfield during WWII. Located near Munich, Erding served USAFE as an Air Depot,
Air Base and an Air Station. In the early postwar years, the mission of the 7485th Air Depot Wing at Erding
was to provide depot-level maintenance of USAFE and NATO fighters.
In 1950, Châteauroux-Déols Airport in France was offered to NATO to develop a depot and maintenance facility
for joint use by the French and the Americans to support both civil and military aircraft. So in 1953, the
7485th Air Depot Wing stood down as the depot mission moved to Châteauroux-Déols AB. In 1956, Erding became an
air defense facility with the assignment of the F-86D equipped 440th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, a detachment
of the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Landstuhl Air Base. In 1960, budget cutbacks and the arrival of the F-102
in Europe forced the closure of Erding, and it was transferred to German control.
With France's withdrawal from NATO in 1966, USAFE activity in Erding returned with
Operation Creek Ale. Meant to fill the Air Defense gap created by the loss of French bases,
OP CREEK ALE rotated F-102 interceptors from various squadrons of the 86th Air Division based
at Ramstein. Squadrons from Soesterberg, Zaragosa, Hahn, Bitburg and Ramstein rotated to Erding
for air defense alert. With the deactivation of the 86th AD in 1970, the 52d Fighter Group was
formed at Erding with some of the F-102's on a permanent basis. In 1971 the F-102s were withdrawn
from Europe and the 52d FG was deactivated.
Relegated to Air Station status, Erding hosted TDY units of CONUS based USAF aircraft though the
1980s for short-term deployments as part of the annual Reforger exercises. It remains an active
German Air Force Base today.
Were you a member of the 7485th Air Depot Wing, 440th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, or
52nd Tactical Fighter Group at Erding? Did your FIS unit rotate through Erding as part of Creek Ale, or
maybe you came to Erding under REFORGER? Help us build a comprehensive history of the USAF and German experience
at Erding AB.
Email us with your stories of Erding Air Base!