Yup, 10 years ago today I landed at Rhein-Main Airbase on a military chartered civilian aircraft that departed from Atlanta. Rhein-Main was located on the south side of Frankfurt International Airport and has since closed and been swallowed and redeveloped by the International Airport. The only building I still recognize on a regular basis is the large old hangar that Lufthansa Technik now operate out of. I tend to always taxi right by it when I fly from Birmingham International to Frankfurt International.
I remember stepping off the large passenger plane and walking across the tarmac into the arrival terminal and having to show my military ID and orders to some guy before being able to go and get my luggage. In the luggage hall there were all kinds of signs talking about how your bags could be searched and that this item and that item were not permitted.
Typically when you arrive like this you are met by your prearranged sponsor who would either sign out a vehicle from motor pool to come and get you or drive their own personal vehicle.
As I was arriving at a time when the squadron I was assigned to was deployed to Aviano Airbase in Italy to bomb Serbia I had no one there to pick me up and I had to take this navy colored school bus from the terminal to Spangdahlem Airbase on my own accord.
I do not remember the exact details of how I figured out which shuttle to catch but I do remember it weaving in and out of Army installations throughout the Frankfurt area before hitting an open stretch of autobahn.
I remember being amazed by the scenery and landscape as we drove down the autobahn. The hills and villages are really unique sights compared to what you generally see when driving down American highways.
We eventually left the autobahn around a large town named Wittlich and took some really windy and narrow roads towards Spangdahlem Airbase.
About 2 and half hours after we left the arrival terminal we pulled up to the main gate of my new base and had our military IDs checked before proceeding to billeting AKA the base hotel.
I went inside the hotel and used a phone to call my shop to announce my arrival. They sent over 2 young airman like myself, both of whom I recognized from tech school and they drove me to the dorm manager to get me a set of keys for my new place.
Unfortunately the photos I have of this are all on my laptop at the Mac shop...