Sabers open doors to German neighbors

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Spangdahlem Air Base hosted an Open House Saturday for the first time since 1998 and approximately 10,000 people took advantage of the opportunity to get a first hand look at the mission and its people.

"It feels great that so many people attended but it feels even better knowing we did not have any security incidents the entire day," said Lt. Col. Angel Diaz, Open House director. "We had great weather, and it was a safe event for all who attended. Special thanks should go to our Security Forces for coming up with a great plan."

Visitors from around Europe and beyond made their way here for the one-day event which had more than 20 aircraft on display and a fly by from an A-10 Warthog and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

"The fact they were able to walk inside the larger aircraft really made a difference, especially to the children," Colonel Diaz said.

Elisabeth Neyes, from Welschbillig, said that was the best part of the day for her and her family.

"The kids and I found the inside of the aircraft very interesting," she said.

Besides aircraft, visitors were able to see a 60K loader, explosive ordnance device robot and fire truck up close.

Bruno Kranz, who brought his young son to the open house from their home in Mellich, said it was a wonderful day.

"It was super," he said, "I see (the planes) everyday but this is great for people who don't know what happens on the base."

Diaz said the general consensus was that everyone had a good time.

"I was in the event area all day, and I received nothing but positive feedback," he said.

The intent of the event was to do more than give people the chance to see what the Air Force is all about, he said. It is a way of saying thank you to those in the local community who support Spangdahlem Air Base and its personnel on a regular basis.

"I hope the message that was sent was one of gratitude for the support the local community has shown us throughout the years," Colonel Diaz said. "An event like this has the potential to build a tremendous amount of goodwill and hopefully we did."