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The 619th TACONRON

The 619th Tactical Control Squadron was reactivated at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany in November, 1953.  The 619th had previously operated in the Philippines after World War II.  The unit moved to Toul Rosieres, France in July 1954.

The move to Birkenfeld was led by Maj. Edward J. Komyati in November 1955 and assumed control of the base on 5 Dec 1955

The mission of the 619th was unique in 12th Air Force.  It was a fully operational, mobile Tactical Control Squadron, designed to be deployed on short notice, set up, man and operate an Air Control Center wherever needed.  At Birkenfeld, the mission was reduced to that of an Alternate Air Control Center and other base support functions.

The air traffic control of Cornbeef Control's upper Area Control Center on Erbeskopf was assumed.  This function provided positive IFR (instrument flight rules) control to military and civilian aircraft flying above 20,000 ft.

With the addition of expanded ATC services and the assignment of German Air Force and BFS (German FAA) controllers, this activity would ultimately pass to the 7100th Support Wing, Wiesbaden AB, Germany and Rhein Control would draw base support from Birkenfeld Air Base.

Birkenfeld still maintained its reputation as a giant on the playing fields.  The TCW (Tactical Control Wing) football team the Taconeers was assigned to Birkenfeld.  Aspiring football players from throughout the wing were assigned to the alternate ACC, and then trained long and hard to make the team.  The Taconeers finished third in 1956 in the European Conference and won the USAFE championship in 1957.  It is understood that a rowdy time was had by all.

The decision to eliminate the alternate ACC spelled doom for the 619th as a unit.  Deactivation began on 28 April 1958 with the receipt of the following message from Wing HQ.  "Your request to cease operation of the alternate ACC effective immediately is approved."

As many airmen as could be used in other squadrons were dispersed throughout the wing.  The remaining officers and men (over 100) were placed on orders to activate the 7424th Support Squadron at Birkenfeld AB on 1 July 1958.

Commanders of Birkenfeld Air Base for the 619th were Maj Edward J. Komyati (5 Dec 1955-24 Jun 1956); Maj Lowell D. Sollenberger (24 Jun1955-Jan 1958); Maj. Harold D. Steer (Jan 1958-5 May 1958); Capt Emil A. Zogheib (5 May 1958-1 July 1958).

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