Comment "Swords Into Plowshares" on Zweibrücken Airport, Germany

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Swords Into Plowshares

This airport will be of interest to a lot of the Canadian readers. There's been an airport on this site since hitler began building up the Luftwaffe. After WWII it was a candaian Forces base for many years until it was closed in the early 1960's. The Germans (West Germans at the time) were quite keen on plowing it under for farmland and it very nearly was, but for some reason the USAF decided to take it over and re-open it in 1970. I was among the first USAF folk who came here in March 1970,and it was "interesting" to say the least. The German contractor hired by Canada to clean up and secure the facilities was most dutiful in following the absolute letter of the contract. Every room in every building was carefully cleaned and every door, inside and out was carefully locked. The one thing which wasn't in the contract? What to do with the keys.

My boss and I arrived at the building designated to house our workshop one morning and the representative from Civil Engineering, the base "land lord" told us .. "The forklift will be here in a moment or two." "Forklift", we queried. We soon found out. On the pallet the forklift was carrying was 4 each 55 gallon steel drums, all full of keys. lacking specific instructions on what to do with thekeys the contractor threw them, un-tagged into steel drums for "safe keeping". "Yours are in their somewhere", our landlord said, "Just let me know when you find them and I'll send the barrels to the next lucky customers."

Needless to say, I'll always remember Zweibrucken.

After the Americans decided we no longer needed the base, better German planners than the ones a few years back made the airdrome into an important regional airport, so perhaps all the time I spent there looking for keys wasn't a waste at all ;-)

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