Spangdahlem and the Europe Surge

Spangdahlem AB, Germany, is one of the central hubs for ramped-up theater security package deployments today, a sharp turnaround from 2013 when the 81st Fighter Squadron inactivated the base’s A-10s moved to Moody AFB, Ga. “There was a period of limbo, wondering what was going to happen in the future,” said 52nd FW Commander Col. Joseph McFall, who served as the wing’s vice commander back in 2013. Now, the base serves as the “belly button for any [theater security package] expedition,” he told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit to the base. Spang served as the receiving point for the first TSP package earlier this year, before the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s A-10s set off on a series of deployments across Europe. While the wing maintains its F-16 suppression of enemy air defenses capability, it also must track the progress of the various TSPs crisscrossing Europe. Some units never land at Spangdahlem, but continue on to other sites, he noted, and require different levels of support at different sites. Wing staff has increased in certain areas, such as logistics and security forces, to support these movements. “It’s gone a lot smoother than I would have thought,” he said. “We’ve covered this massive swath of Europe, which is pretty impressive considering the amount of aircraft and the people supporting it is just not that much.”