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A descent into history
Wolfgang Wuermel, owner of the Kindsbach Cave, details a map of the Air Defense Operations Center bunker, Aug. 16, 2013, Kindsbach Cave, Germany. The bunker was built prior to World War II and was utilized for command and control operations for the German army. After the war, it was passed to the French, who used it primarily for storing munitions. The U.S. Air Force gained control of the bunker in 1954 and turned it back into a command and control center where air operations could have been led if the Cold War turned hot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes)
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AOC Airmen visit historical bunker

Posted 8/22/2013   Updated 8/23/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


8/22/2013 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany  -- Airmen from the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center took a look at history after visiting the Air Defense Operations Center bunker, Aug. 16, in Kindsbach, Germany.

The bunker was built prior to World War II and was utilized for command and control operations for the German army. After the war it was passed to the French, who used it primarily for storing munitions. The Air Force gained control of the bunker in 1954 and turned it back into a command and control center where air operations could have been led if the Cold War turned hot.

When the United States vacated the bunker in 1993, it was given back to the German government. The Kindsach Cave Bunker now belongs to the family who owns the land, and they provide tours of the bunker.

During the tour, the Airmen saw the conditions their previous generation worked. Highlights of the tour included the old air defense operations center and the Cold-War era AOC.

"If you're the owner of something with historical value, you have an obligation to show it to anyone who is interested," said Wolfgang Wuermel, owner of the Kindsbach Cave. "This was an interesting tour to give, especially since the people on this tour do the same job as those who served here long ago."

For one member of the 603rd AOC, the tour meant seeing the area where his father worked in the late '70s.

"My father worked here and specialized in communications; we actually have the same job," said Tech. Sgt. Peter Krueger, 603rd AOC NCO in charge of operational knowledge management. "I figured since I work here now, I would organize a tour to compare where we work now to where we would have worked years ago."

The newest AOC in the Air Force has multiple differences from what was identified as the first ADOC Krueger said.

"You could tell the differences every sixth room we passed," he said. "It seemed like every few rooms was broken up by mechanical room. Now our technology is much (more compact)."

As the organizer, Krueger was pleased at the interest members of his organization had about descending into the past.

"We had a positive turnout, there were lots of interested people who wanted to learn about the history of our field," Krueger said. "It's a link directly from how we operate now to how air defense operations were handled back then. We have come a far way from how we used to operate."



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