vendredi 30 décembre 2011

Berlin crisis and operation "Stair Step", 50 years later...

This month, in Air Fan french magazine (n° 397 décember 2011), you can read the article I wrote to celebrate the 50th anniversary of operation "Stair Step", as a US response to the Berlin crisis. 

In 1961, as USSR & East germany started building the Berlin wall, the USA decided to strengthen their military forces in Europe, and especially USAFE. To do so, president Kennedy called several Air National Guard (ANG) units to active duty. Several squadrons, mainly ffighter-bombers ones, were deployed to France, Germany and Spain to face the soviet threat.

F-84F Thunderstreak belonging to the 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron from 
Missouri ANG, en route to Toul-Rosières

For the USA, this crisis made possible to reactivate some airbases in France, after several years of stand by status. As a result Chambley AB, Etain AB, Chaumont AB and Toul-Rosières AB each host a F-84F squadron. Meanwhile a whole fighter-bomber wing take possession of Phalsbourg AB,  with its F-86H Sabre.

These F-86H Sabre of 101st TFS were integrated to USAFE during 
the Berlin crisis and sent to Phalsbourg AB, France.
Here is only a part of the deployment focused on France. But to get a detailed inventory of the whole "Stair Step" operation, illustrated by some pretty unseen and rare pictures, order your Air Fan sample now!

You can also take a look at last september's issue of Air Force Magazine :

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