LANDSBERG AIR BASE, GERMANY
My father, then USAF Major Charles L. Hoffman, Jr., was assigned to Landsberg Air Base, Germany in March 1955. With over six years of experience in flying training in Air Training Command, he and over 70 other officers were sent to Germany under "Project Hot Rock" to start a flying training program to get the German Air Force back on its feet after 10 years of inactivity. My mother, Georgia, my younger brother, Gregory, and I were fortunate in that we were allowed to accompany Dad to Germany for his three-year tour.
We departed Staten Island on 2 March 1955 aboard the General George W. Goethals, a converted troop ship, for a 10-day voyage across the cold, stormy North Atlantic to Bremerhaven, Germany. We took a train from Bremerhaven to Augsburg, and then were assigned off-base housing at Bobingen, a small town just south of Augsburg and a stone's throw from the former Messerschmitt aircraft factory. I started elementary school in Landsberg, Germany, almost immediately and my bus ride took me past Lechfeld airfield, scene of last-ditch flights by Luftwaffe ME-262 jet fighters in early 1945. We also passed Landsberg Prison, where Hitler spent several months in 1923-1924 after his failed Beerhall Putsch, and many German war criminals spent their last days waiting the gallows' rope. I became immersed in history almost from Day One.
My father was originally bound for Fuerstenfeldbruck Air Base, but was diverted to Landsberg Air Base just a few days after we arrived in Augsburg. Although I'm sure I would have experienced the same things at "Fursty" as I did at Landsberg, those three years and three months (Dad extended three months to let us finish school) from March 1955 to June 1958 were among the most memorable of my life.
Therefore, this webpage will be devoted to telling and illustrating the history of Landsberg Air Base from the start of its construction in 1936 to the departure of the last of the USAF training cadre in the summer of 1958.
--Michael P. Hoffman, Lt Col USAF-Retired