Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces)
The years 1955–1957 were a transitional period for the Fürstenfeldbruck air base, during which the US Armed Forces handed over the base that is often called “Fursty” to the German Luftwaffe (Air Force). During this period, American advisers remained at the air base to train Luftwaffe instructor personnel. After the Federal Republic of Germany had joined NATO (1955), the training of German pilots and the buildup of “Flugführerschule B” (pilot school “B”) started as early as in January 1956 with the first German jet pilots graduating in September 1956. On 1st October 1957, the air base was taken over by the German Luftwaffe and officially handed over on 14th December 1957.
Due to the quickly increasing number of German Air Force staff, the Offiziersvereinigung (commissioned officers’ association) was already founded in June 1958; soon after, in August 1958, the Unteroffiziersvereinigung (non-commissioned officers’ association) was founded. In 1960, the last US soldiers left Fürstenfeldbruck air base. By then, “Flugführerschule B” had become a central training facility and the Kommando der Schulen (headquarters of the schools) had come to play a central role in the German Luftwaffe. In 1960, German military training aid for other armed forces such as the Nigerian or Ethiopian Air Forces started.
In 1961, the air base consisted of 19 independent units:
- Kommando der Schulen (headquarters of the schools) (since 1956)
- Luftwaffenausbildungsbrigaden 1 – 4 (air force training brigades 1 to 4) (since 1961)
- Flugzeugführerschule “B“ (pilot school “B”) (since 1956)
- Flugmedizinisches Institut der Luftwaffe (air force institute of aviation medicine)
- Offiziersanwärter-Bataillon der Luftwaffe (air force officer candidate battalion)
- 1. Luftrettungs- und Verbindungsstaffel (1st air rescue and liaison squadron) (since 1959)
- Schwere Luftwaffenpionierkompanie Süd (air force heavy engineer company south) (since 1959)
- Flugsicherungsbereichszentrale 1 (air traffic control regional center 1)
- 1. Flugsicherungskompanie (1st air traffic control company)
- 1. Luftwaffensanitätsausbildungskompanie (1st air force medical service training company)
- Geophysikalische Lehrgruppe (geophysics training branch) (since 1961)
- Standortkommandantur (garrison command) (since 1956)
- Standortverwaltung (garrison administration) (since 1955)
- Kreiswehrersatzamt (military registration office)
- katholische und evangelische Militärseelsorge (catholic and protestant chaplaincy)
In 1962, the Ehrenmal der Luftwaffe (air force and aviation memorial), which was a memorial to all the pilots who were killed in the World Wars, was completed and handed over to the Air Force in May 1966.
In October 1963, the command of the 1. Luftwaffendivision (1st air division) was transferred from Munich to Fürstenfeldbruck. The year 1964 marked a turning point in the history of Fürstenfeldbruck air base as the Luftwaffenschule 50 (air force weapons school 50) moved from Erding to Fürstenfeldbruck and was integrated into the new Luftwaffenschule 50 together with Flugzeugführerschule “B”. As a result, 150 recruits of the Offiziersanwärter-Battalion were sworn in in front of Fürstenfeld monastery church in a public ceremony in November 1965. In April 1968, Luftwaffenschule 50 was reorganized. The 1st squadron became a training and testing center. The 2nd squadron was tasked with weapon training on G‑91 as well the europeanization of pilots trained in the US as all Luftwaffe jet pilots had been trained in Texas since 1966. In the same year the Chiefs of Air Force staff of the NATO states Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and the Federal Republic of Germany came together for a conference at Fürstenfeldbruck air base. In 1970, weapon systems officer training at weapon system RF‑4 Phantom was taken up.
In April 1973, the Fluglehrgruppe (aircrew training center) of the Fachhochschule (college of applied sciences) Neubiberg was integrated into the training group of the Luftwaffenschule as the third flying squadron. In 1975, the Offiziersschule der Luftwaffe (air force officer school) was relocated from Neubiberg to Fürstenfeldbruck. In this context, a new and modern officer school, the so-called “Blaue Palais” (blue palace) was built and completed in 1977. The teaching staff consisted of more than 250 military and civilian personnel teaching 1,900 students. The Luftwaffenschule 50 was renamed Jagdbombergeschwader 49 (fighter bomber wing 49) and two years later already the first Alpha Jets took off from Fürstenfeldbruck air base. From 1990 onwards, also basic training courses for members of the National People’s Army (NVA) of the dissolving GDR took place in Fürstenfeldbruck. All in all, the Fürstenfeldbruck air base was an important training center of the German Air Force and was involved directly or indirectly in all of NATO’s deterrence and defence concepts in the period between 1957 and the historic change in 1989/1990.
In June 1991 the Federal Ministry of Defence made the momentous decision for Fürstenfeldbruck air base to disband the Jagdbombergeschwader 49. In 1994, the decision was put into practice and when the Fluglehrgruppe was decommissioned in 1997 an Alpha Jet took off for the last time. In 2003, flight operations were discontinued and only one year later the Federal Ministry of Defence decided to completely give up Fürstenfeldbruck air base. This culminated in the decision to close down the entire site including the Offiziersschule der Luftwaffe.
According to current information, it can be assumed that the last remainders of the German Armed Forces will leave around the year 2020.
In 1972, Fürstenfeldbruck air base gained notoriety during the Olympic Games in Munich when terrorists of the Black September Organization took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and tried to escape from Fürstenfeldbruck air base by plane. In the ensuing firefight between the terrorists and the police nine Israeli hostages, a policeman and five terrorists were killed. In 1999, a memorial commemorating the Israeli victims of the Munich massacre was inaugurated.
Until the 1990s, the air base was the biggest employer in the district of Fürstenfeldbruck. In 1991, in addition to 2,800 military staff, 1,800 civilians were employed at the air base, living in Fürstenfeldbruck with their families. Moreover, for the local economy the air base staff were important customers with considerable spending power. Local businesses, especially craftsmen profited from orders for extensive construction measures at the air base. For the entire period the air base has existed, the municipal authorities and those responsible at the air base did their best to stay on good terms. Events such as the town balls, which took place at the air base frequently, as well as the “open days” are prime examples of the good relationship. Thus, more than 200,000 visitors came to the air base in 1960, one year later the NATO airshow attracted some 500,000 visitors.
Despite all this, parts of the population expressed their concerns about aircraft noise.