Ramble On

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ex-Berliners Nostalgia Moment

Back to the Hawksbill Cabin in a few...

Many readers know that I was an Air Force Russian Linguist, stationed in Berlin from 1981-1986. While I was there, I lived on Tempelhof Air Base...an installation that has been in the news of late, to say nothing of its historical significance during the Cold War era.

There are articles in several of the major papers today reporting that citizens there have decided to close the airport. There is no surprise to this, even during my time it was hard to see how it could stay open, completely surrounded by the city. Most of the airlines have moved out to the other airports in the city, and a Dulles-like major facility is under construction there.

In any case, here are a couple of photos, one from the air, taken in December 2007, and another, showing one of the cargo planes - called "Candy Bombers" in the day - that flew in and out of Tempelhof during the Berlin Airlift. Both are AP sourced photos.

In the airfield photo, for three years I lived in a part of the bulding called H2 Long which is just out of the shot on the left center - until I moved to Washington, DC this was the longest I had ever lived in one place. Then for a year and a half I shared a two bedroom suite with Greg, aka Henry, in Head Building East, which is in the top left corner near the radar tower.

You can't quite make it out in this photo, but the building was designed to look like an eagle in flight from the air - it was originally designed in 1933 by Speer as part of the new Capital, envisioned by the Third Reich as the center of Europe. It remains the 3rd largest building in Europe, and by the looks of things, will be maintained as a historic building, although the airfield will probably be redeveloped.

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