History in english

Also Sembach got along like so Mehlingen, that still us in medieval sources as „Sentenbach“, and „Sinckenbach“ meets and derives his/its name from verschilften water runs and ponds doubtlessly (mhd. „Semede“ = Binse), already early under the reign of the wait salvors. As these transferred their Amtssitz into the small place against end of the thirty year old war (1646), this had a surprising economic in relationship with a favorable traffic situation in the intersection of two highways

Upswing of the village to the consequence. Reign and subjects were reformed before 1648, however after 1700 also some mennonitische families, that formed a small community, moved in besides some Lutherans. Its prime experienced the village during the affiliation of the palatinate with the Napoleonic Empire, not least through the construction of the „emperor street“. Sembach counted 1802 even rose already 511 inhabitants and their number until 1837 by 835. In this span, the place got a big Post-Station, a doctor’s office and a pharmacy. Through two „liberals“, that reached to prestige the 2. cell of the Bavarian state parliament as member,

Post holders Daniel Ritter and priest Johann Heinrich high Hochdörfer, one of the kingpins at the „Hambacher party“ (1832) and representatives of socially-revolutionary ideas in the revolution of 1848/49, the name of the village became in the first half of the 19. Century far over the then circle borders known. However as the railroad line of Kaiserslautern was led in the 70er years after Winnweiler, the place lay traffic-politically offside abruptly. The population took rapid only from and with the construction of the military airfield (1951) and the American development, an again economic upswing of the community put in „Heuberg.“



The history of Flugplatz Sembach began in 1919, after the Treaty of Versailles, when French occupation troops used the eastern half of the present flightline as an airfield. Their facilities consisted of 10 sheet-iron barracks and 26 wooden hangers with canvas coverings. As part of the general withdrawal of French occupation forces from the left bank of the Rhine, the French abandoned the airfield on 15 June 1930. After the French withdrawal, the land was returned to farmers and used as a hayfield until 1939, when the German Luftwaffe ordered that the area be reserved for use as a fighter base. Because of the brevity of the French campaign in the first year of the Second World War, the area was returned to the farmers to be used as a pasture in June 1940.

Early in 1951, there were rumors in the village of Sembach concerning the surveying of the former airfield by Americans. In April 1951, German surveyors visited the area in the company of French officers. The local farmers protested the construction of a hard-surface airfield which would entail the loss of much of their land, and they demonstrated in Mainz, the capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate. Despite this vigorous opposition, the French occupational authorities began the construction of a modern airfield at the end of June 1951. Many workers were brought in to build the new base, and the village of Sembach took on the character of a boomtown. Construction continued around the clock through the use of nighttime illumination. The pouring of the 8,500-foot concrete runway was begun early in September 1951 and was finished by the end of the month. The taxiways were completed by the close of the year. During the remainder of the winter, the control tower, hangars, repair shops and other buildings were built along the taxiway. With the building of munitions bunkers to the east of the flightline and a road connecting the taxiway to Bundesstrasse 48 in April 1952, the construction of the flightline area was finished.

In the middle of April 1952, the residents of Sembach learned that the land to the north of the now completed flightline was to be used for the construction of multi-story barracks and office buildings. On 22 April 1952, officials began to survey the land that was to be built upon. The farmers joined forces and forcibly hindered the surveyors, injuring one of them. On 23 April 1952, the Chief of the State Chancellery personally visited Sembach and promised the farmers that he would do all that he could to protect their rights. The Sembach farmers were not convinced, and on 28 April, they again denied the surveyors entrance to their fields. Despite these efforts, the land was successfully surveyed in August. In September, the Minister President of the Rhineland-Palantinate announced that the government had offered an alternative to the site for the planned construction. Shortly afterward, the occupation authorities agreed to build on the Heuberg, a sandy area of comparatively little agricultural value located approximately a mile from the flightline. Everyone being satisfied, Sembach became a center of activity once more, and construction of the administrative area of the base began in October 1952. Over 2500 workers worked day and night operating bulldozers, dump trucks and cement haulers. The barracks and administrative buildings were completed in the spring of 1953.



Although Sembach Air Base was constructed in the French Zone of Occupation under French direction, it was built to be used by NATO forces and was, moreover, intended to be an American Air Base from the beginning. The American flag first flew at Sembach Air Base on 8 July 1953. On that day, at 1045 hours, the first of 18 RB-26 Marauder aircraft belonging to the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW) landed on the new flightline. Major General B. C. Struther, commander of 12th Air Force, welcomed the Wing. The Wing Commander landed at 1509 hours in a T-33, bringing the remainder of the wing’s aircraft with him: 32 RF-80 Shooting Stars and 4 T-33s.

The third and final phase of construction at Sembach Air Base was conducted in the summer of 1954 when the housing area was built. The 66th TRW operated RF-84 Thunderjets and RB-57 Canberra aircraft at Sembach Air Base until they were transferred to France in 1958. The base was taken over by the 7127th Support Group in June 1958. On 29 August 1959, the 38th Tactical Missile Wing (TMW) moved to Sembach from Hahn Air Base. Sembach then became the Air Force’s primary missile base in Europe. The 39th TMW had the comparatively short ranged Matador ground-to-ground weapons system when it arrived at Sembach but changed to the longer ranged Mace B missile soon after its arrival. The 38th TMW inactivated in September 1966, and its missiles were returned to the United States.

The 603rd Air Base Wing was activated at the same time to administer Sembach Air Base and to perform a mission of support for the 601st Tactical Control Group (TCG) and the 7th Commando Squadron. The 2nd Mobile Communications Group moved to Sembach Air Base in November 1966 from Toul-Rousieres Air Base, France and was also supported by the 603rd Air Base Wing. The 601TCG had been stationed at Sembach Air Base since its activation on 15 February 1965. The 7th Air Commando Squadron had moved to Sembach from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in March 1964 and left Sembach in 1968.

The 603rd ABW was inactivated 1 July 1968 as the 601st Combat Support Group (CSG) was activated under the 601st Tactical Control Wing (TCW). The 601st CSG assumed the new wing’s secondary mission of operating the base and of performing the base support functions (except for the brief two-year period when the 7400th ABG ran the base) until 1 June 1985. At this time, the 601TCW underwent major wing reorganization. The then current 601 TCW structure was divided into the 65th Air Division Staff with two subordinate wings (the 66th Electronic Combat Wing and the new 601st Tactical Control Wing). As such, the newly created 66th ECW was assigned host wing responsibilities previously held by the 601TCW. In any event, the 601CSG was redesignated the 66th CSG with responsibilities of operating the base and providing the base support function for both the 66th ECW and the 601st TCW.

Following the drawdown of European forces after the Cold War, the mission responsibilities of the 601TCW were likewise reduced and then assumed by various newly created operational organizations. In September 1993, the 601st Operations Group at Sembach Air Base deactivated. On 1 October 1993, the 86th Operations Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany assumed command of the USAFE TACS System.

At the present time, Sembach Air Base housing is being used by the Air Force as ancillary housing for personnel assigned to Ramstein Air Base. All operations functions have ceased, and a significant portion of the base including the base flightline has been turned over to the German government.