The 7351st Flying Training Group (Military Defense Assistance Program--MDAP) was activated 1 April 1955 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Loren S. Nickels to prepare LAB for pilot training. The runway and parking ramp underwent a complete reconstruction and the runway was lengthened 2,500 feet.

On 1 June 1955, Colonel Rowland O. Mosher assumed command of LAB from Lieutenant Colonel Riggle. Officers from the 7351st Flying Training Group, 6910th Security Group, 6912th Radio Squadron, and 7th Beacon Squadron participated in the change-of-command ceremony. The Group was further expanded and redesignated as the 7351st Flying Training Wing (MDAP) on 1 October 1955 and consisted of three groups and seven squadrons.

In December 1955 the runway became operational and on 6 January 1956, 24 Harvard Mark IVs (Canadian-built versions of the North American T-6 “Texan”) arrived.

Landsberg Air Base was the site for the retraining of the German Air Force (GAF). The first flight with American instructors and German trainees took place on February 4, 1956. After ten years, it was a cold start for the New Luftwaffe. It was cold on the field, the thermometer showed 19º Celsius, but this did not bother the students - it was their first official flight after almost ten years! The 18 aircraft remained in the air for 90 minutes. The 14 ex-German Luftwaffe Officers (many of them Aces), as well as four Italian pilot students, beamed with joy as they landed. It was a rebirth of German flying.

In May 1956 the first GAF pilots graduated from refresher training. Many of these pilots remained as instructors for succeeding classes.

In accordance with a January 1956 agreement, American military strength at LAB began a slow draw-down. By May 1957 the phase-out had USAF personnel at such low levels that the “Landsberg Bavarian,” the base newspaper, published its last issue. As more and more personnel departed, off-base quarters were returned to the Germans, and the remaining families relocated on LAB. On-base facilities, both operational and recreational, were gradually phased out or turned over to the Germans. On 26 June 1957, Colonel Mosher left for Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base and turned the 7351st over to Colonel Joseph B. Latshaw.

Continuing draw-down led to the formation of Team #2 of the 7367th Training Group on 20 September 1957. All remaining LAB Air Force personnel, including Col Latshaw, were reassigned to this team. The 7351st deactivated shortly afterwards. On 14 December 1957, LAB and other Bavarian bases were officially returned to German Air Force control.

Although a few Americans would continue to be assigned to the base during the succeeding decades, the halcyon days for the USAF at Landsberg Air Base ended in the summer of 1958 when the last of the old Training Wing military and their families departed.

Michael Hoffman copyright 2012. No animals were harmed in the making of this webpage.

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