Étain-Rouvres Air Base - NATO Acquisition

NATO Acquisition

With the outbreak of the Cold War in the late 1940s, with the Berlin Airlift and the ongoing threat from the Soviet Union to Western Europe, negotiations began in November 1950 between NATO and the United States to establish air bases and station combat wings in France to meet European defense needs.

During the negotiations for selection sites, in May 1952 the World War II airfield at Etain was proposed for expansion into a modern air base. An agreement was reached to develop Etain into a NATO facility and station United States Air Force tactical fighter-bombers there by the end of 1954. However budget restrictions delyed major construction for about a year. Although a base facility was ready for the USAF to use at the end of 1954, the facility was not ready for full acceptance until the summer of 1956 with the railroad spur into Etain not being completed until June 1955, and underground fuel storage was delayed until 1956.

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