In the wake of earlier agreements between the USA and France, the base and several technical site locations, were turned over to advance elements of the 602nd Tactical Control Squadron (TCS) of USAFE during the summer and fall of 1948. The 602nd TCS had been established in 1947 in Goddelau near Darmstadt – Griesheim, now an abandoned US Army airfield. This 602nd TCS was then re-designated the 602nd Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) squadron on 23 November 1948, just before the unit moved from Darmstadt military post, Germany, to Birkenfeld.
Birkenfeld airbase was USAFE’s administrative headquarters for RHEIN CONTROL. Only BFS, the german Federal Administration for Air Navigation Services, maintained its detachment office on Erbeskopf, as did the German Air Force until the time when their telecommunications regiment had moved onto the new base in 1965, the “Heinrich-Hertz” kaserne just outside Birkenfeld in the “Schönewald” forest. Between 1958 and 1960 USAFE personnel at Birkenfeld was only 65 persons, not counting dependants. BFS staff counted 32 and GAF 22.
The 602nd was the first american unit to move into the french zone. Birkenfeld, since then, has remained to be an “Air Force town” with the German Air Force having completed their own base around 1965 at the opposite side of the town for their telecommunications (signal) regiment. After Birkenfeld Air Base was closed its tenant, the then 615th AC&W squadron, moved to Neubrücke 98th US Military General Hospital area in 1969.
German Air Traffic Control During The Cold War
The Story of Rhein Control
Vol 3, The Operation of ATC in South Germany's Upper Airspace 1957-1977