ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) - The German air force is terminating its contract to train its pilots at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Col. Heinz-Josef Ferkinghoff, commander of German forces in the U.S., said the move is due to tactical and logistical reasons more than finances.
It’s easier to take care of the Tornado aircraft fleet at two bases in Germany, he said.
“There’s a certain logistical challenge to operate a fast jet like the Tornado in a foreign country,” Ferkinghoff said. “Sometimes we wait weeks for spare parts, but in Germany they’re more or less immediately available.”
The Luftwaffe will end the training in New Mexico by 2019, The Alamogordo Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/22zFljU).
The German defense ministry said the decision will affect about 450 military staff and their families and 14 Tornado weapon systems stationed in New Mexico.
German pilots have been a presence at Holloman since 1992. The German air force closed down its North American Command at Fort Bliss in 2013 and moved it to Holloman as part of a plan to eventually leave the base.
The German air force still operates its Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss and will continue its presence there until at least 2020.
Ferkinghoff said the German Air Force Flying Training Center has appreciated Holloman’s hospitality and the departure is a sad one.
“I think the German flavor that Alamogordo has received over the last 25 years will go away,” he said. “A lot of Germans are sad that eventually they have to leave and have no chance to come back.”
Information from: Alamogordo Daily News, https://www.alamogordonews.com
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