Spangdahlem opens house to international crowd

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The 52nd Fighter Wing hosted a two-day open house event here July 30 - 31, which included demonstrations of military capabilities and static aircraft displays.

About 40,000 people attended the exhibition -- 20,000 more than the open house in 2008.

"It was a spectacular event," said Col. Chris Weggeman, 52nd Fighter Wing commander. "The turnout was wonderful. As an Eifel community, we have a shared sense of purpose, and events like these make what we do on a day-to-day basis more effective."

NATO service members displayed nearly 20 NATO aircraft, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II provided demonstrations.

"It was good to have this open house," said Alex Thiel, a German visitor to the base. "It was good to see up-close how each machine works, and it let people in who couldn't normally come here."

Ansgar Gehlel, an aviation fan from Germany, travels to different air bases throughout Europe to view aircraft demonstrations. He and his friends said they attended the event not fully knowing what to expect.

"I definitely learned more about the base after coming here," he said with a laugh. "All of the displays, and especially the jets, were very interesting."

For images of the open house, visit http://www.spangdahlem.af.mil.