Outside the United States lurks one of the USA’s largest Airforce base; located in southwest Germany is Ramstein Air Base. Ramstein serves as the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe and is a crucial Air base for drone warfare, airlifting special-ops units and transporting munitions for airstrikes. The Air Base is the home to 57,000 US citizens and the Defense Department calls it,
the largest American community outside of the United States, Ramstein serves as the biggest Air Force cargo port beyond US borders, providing full spectrum airfield operations along with world-class airlift and expeditionary combat support.
To make the US soldiers feel home, Ramstein has five American colleges have campuses on the base and large Exchange store that is considered the largest in the US military. A public-affairs officer, Maj. Tony Wickman stated that
The scope of that projection is vast, with areas of responsibility that include Europe, Russia, and Africa—104 countries in all. And Ramstein is well-staffed to meet the challenge, with over 7,500 “active duty Airmen”.
At the moment, Ramstein supports fifteen different major combat operations and the newest addition to the base are fleet of fourteen newest-model C-130 turboprops. The plane is known for its spacious cargo bay that can carry up to 44,000 pounds of supplies or 92 Army Airborne “jumpers” who can weigh up to 400 pounds. The C-130J is ideal for flying war material and special-operations forces to remote terrain in northern and western Africa and the Pentagon describes it as “a rugged combat transporter designed to take off and land at austere fields”.
In 2011 Ramstein’s 60,800-square-foot Air and Space Operations Center opened and it came with “40 communication systems, 553 workstations, 1,500 computers, 1,700 monitors, 22,000 connections, and enough fiber optics to stretch from here to the Louvre in Paris.” Making it one the most technological advanced air bases.
Ramstein is absolutely essential to the US drone program.
says Brandon Bryant, a former Air Force sensor operator who participated in drone attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia for five years while stationed in New Mexico and Nevada.
“All information and data go through Ramstein. Everything. For the whole world.” Bryant and other sensor operators had Ramstein on speed dial:
Before we could establish a link from our ground-control station in the United States to the drone, we literally would have to call Ramstein up and say ‘Hey, can you connect us to this satellite feed?’ We would just pick up the phone and press the button and it automatically dials in to Ramstein.