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Occupation of Germany

After the 94th Aero Squadron arrived at Koblenz, it painted its SPAD XIIIs in extremely gaudy colors in preparation for flying them to Paris for the French-sponsored pennant presentation ceremony on April 12, 1919. The pilots flew as far as Toul before inclement weather grounded them; they had to complete their trip to Paris by train. (U.S. Air Force photo)

After the 94th Aero Squadron arrived at Koblenz, it painted its SPAD XIIIs in extremely gaudy colors in preparation for flying them to Paris for the French-sponsored pennant presentation ceremony on April 12, 1919. The pilots flew as far as Toul before inclement weather grounded them; they had to complete their trip to Paris by train. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. Reed Chambers, C.O. of the 94th Aero Squadron on the Rhine, with his candy-striped SPAD XIII at Koblenz. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Capt. Reed Chambers, C.O. of the 94th Aero Squadron on the Rhine, with his candy-striped SPAD XIII at Koblenz. (U.S. Air Force photo)

World War I was known as "The War to End All Wars." Most Americans believed the slogan and from across the land came the call "Bring the Boys Home."

U.S. troops were returned to the States as rapidly as possible, but a small number remained in Europe for occupation duty in Germany on the west bank of the Rhine and a small bridgehead area east of the Rhine 18 miles deep. Included were some Air Service aero squadrons and balloon companies, primarily in the areas of Trier and Koblenz.

Those Air Service men assigned to occupation duty were primarily engaged in aerial mapping and photography of German territory and in testing German airplanes obtained as war reparations. Time hung heavy, however, and sporting events, carnivals and guided tours of historic sights were frequently held to bolster morale.

By the fall of 1919, all Air Service combat-type units had been withdrawn from Germany. In September 1920, however, a small Air Service detachment under command of Lt. Col. Frank M. Andrews arrived from the United States. Consisting of 13 officers and 88 men, it was stationed at a new flying field near Weissenthurm, seven miles northwest of Koblenz, where it remained for more than two years.

At noon on Jan. 24, 1923, the U.S. flag was lowered for the last time in Germany and all U.S. personnel were returned to the States.

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.

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