Aviano, Spangdahlem Losing Units

The Air Force will inactivate the 81st Fighter Squadron, an A-10C unit, at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and the 603rd Air Control Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy, announced Pentagon officials on Thursday. These moves are part of the broader changes to the US military posture in Europe that will reduce the US footprint there from about 80,000 troops today to some 70,000 in 2017. The loss of the 81st FS will leave Spangdahlem with the 480th FS that operates F-16s. Also among the changes: the Army will inactivate two Germany-based infantry brigades (170th and 172nd) as well as its V Corps headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany. The announcement came on the day that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with German Defense Minister Thomas De Maizière at the Pentagon. (AFPS report by Karen Parrish) (See also Adjusting the US Military’s European Presence.)