Heidelberg Army Air Field

Another of the military installations I visited while in Heidelberg was the AAF, or Army Air Field.  As far as I can tell from searching around the internet, it didn’t have any name more specific than that.  You can click here to see a satellite view of the airfield.  I believe that this satellite image may already be outdated because the Wikipedia page for the US Army Garrison Heidelberg says that, as part of the Army’s pullout from the Heidelberg area, this air field has already been turned over to the German government and has been converted to a heliport.

I think I was only at the AAF a few times.  I recall once at night we were waiting for a flight to come in and we walked around the T-shaped building to the north and looked at the fire trucks there–I was surprised to still see fire equipment at that exact location, at least as recently as that last satellite picture was taken.

I also vaguely recall walking through a long central hallway in that skinny central building, and I think one time we got to go up into the cockpit of a parked plane and look around.  Another time we got to do a ride-along on a flight to another airfield maybe a few hours away.

But the main thing I remember about this airfield is the time that Santa came to visit.  The airfield staff were hosting a Christmas party, I believe in one of the hangars to the south.  There was a regular dinner/party for a while, and then they announced that Santa was coming in for a landing.  A small airplane, which may have been a Jetstream C-10A because I know those were flown out of this airfield, came taxiing right to the party hangar and out climbed Santa with a big bag of presents!  (Although that Wikipedia page says no C-10A’s were ever delivered to the US Air Force, I’m fairly sure I’m remembering the designation C-10 correctly so maybe the Army had bought some before the Air Force order was placed?)  All of the kids ran out to meet him, and my most vivid and hilarious memory is of watching some kid jump up and grab Santa’s beard, pulling it down so you could clearly see the elastic strap holding it in place.  Santa quickly adjusted himself and carried on, and as I recall he had a present in his bag for each kid at the party.   I think we had to go up to the front to receive it as he called our names.

If you want to know more about the Heidelberg AAF, check out this page which describes it in exhaustive detail.

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