HomeVisitMuseum ExhibitsFact SheetsDisplay

Tactical Air Command and the Berlin Crisis

Arrival of an F-84F of the New Jersey Air National Guard at Chaumont Air Base, France, as part of Operation Stair Step. More than 100,000 ANG and Air Force Reserve personnel, with planes and equipment, were deployed to Europe because of the Berlin crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Arrival of an F-84F of the New Jersey Air National Guard at Chaumont Air Base, France, as part of Operation Stair Step. More than 100,000 ANG and Air Force Reserve personnel, with planes and equipment, were deployed to Europe because of the Berlin crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo)

F-84Fs of the Federalized Air National Guard in Newfoundland, November 1961, prior to flying the Atlantic to Europe in response to the Berlin Crisis. Because of the long over-water distance to the next airfield in the Azores, the planes were towed to the end of the runway prior to takeoff to conserve fuel. During this Operation Stair Step deployment of more than 200 fighter aircraft (the largest overseas movement of a fighter force since World War II), not a single plane was lost. (U.S. Air Force photo)

F-84Fs of the Federalized Air National Guard in Newfoundland, November 1961, prior to flying the Atlantic to Europe in response to the Berlin Crisis. Because of the long over-water distance to the next airfield in the Azores, the planes were towed to the end of the runway prior to takeoff to conserve fuel. During this Operation Stair Step deployment of more than 200 fighter aircraft (the largest overseas movement of a fighter force since World War II), not a single plane was lost. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Douglas C-124s unload their cargo at Phalsbourg Air Base, France, as part of Operation Stair Step. Federalized Air National Guard units, equipped with F/RF-84Fs and F-86Hs, moved into five airfields in northeastern France where they bolstered NATO forces from November 1961 to August 1962 before returning home. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Douglas C-124s unload their cargo at Phalsbourg Air Base, France, as part of Operation Stair Step. Federalized Air National Guard units, equipped with F/RF-84Fs and F-86Hs, moved into five airfields in northeastern France where they bolstered NATO forces from November 1961 to August 1962 before returning home. (U.S. Air Force photo)

F-86Hs at Prestwick Air base, Scotland after flying the North Atlantic from the U.S. as part of Operation Stair Step, Oct. 1961. After refueling, they continued to their new base in France.

F-86Hs at Prestwick Air base, Scotland after flying the North Atlantic from the U.S. as part of Operation Stair Step, Oct. 1961. After refueling, they continued to their new base in France.

In the fall of 1961, Tactical Air Command was again called into action, this time to provide men and planes to Europe because of the Berlin Crisis. Numerous USAF Reserve and Air National Guard units were mobilized to increase TAC's combat strength, and in November TAC deployed more than 200 Federalized Air National Guard airplanes and thousands of personnel under Operation Stair Step to France, Germany and Spain to augment USAFE units already on duty in Europe. The crisis ended in the summer of 1962 and the personnel returned to the United States.

Click here to return to the Tactical Air Command Overview.


Mask Policy:
In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense (DoD) and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will require all visitors to wear face masks indoors effective July 30, 2021 until further notice.

Visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks while indoors at the museum. This policy applies to all visitors, staff and volunteers regardless of vaccination status. Visitors may wear their own masks or a free paper mask will be provided. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
Additional information available here.

Featured Links

Plan Your Visit button
E-newsletter Sign-up button
Explore Museum Exhibits button
Browse Photos button
Visit Press Room button
Become a Volunteer button
Air Force Museum Foundation button
Donate an item button