Rheine-Bentlage Air Base
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|Rheine-Bentlage Air Base|
|IATA: ZPQ – ICAO: ETHE|
|Owner||Federal Ministry of Defence|
|In use||1940 - 1945
1960 - present
|Commander||Colonel Werner Salewski|
|Occupants||German Army Aviation Corps|
|Elevation AMSL||128 ft / 39 m|
Rheine-Bentlage Air Base (German: Heeresflugplatz Rheine-Bentlage, IATA: ZPQ, ICAO: ETHE) is located near the village of Bentlage, 2 km northwest of the city of Rheine, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
In 1939 works to build an air base for the Luftwaffe began. These works were completed in 1940. During World War II extensive use was made of the air base, particularly by night and day fighter squadrons. After the war the air base was abandoned.
In 1960, following the founding of the German Armed Forces in 1955 and the establishing of a new branch within the German Army, the Aviation Corps, completely new military installations, hangars and a small runway made of asphalt, were constructed on the grounds of the former German Air Force base.
Since 1960 various units of the German Army Aviation Corps have been stationed at Rheine Air Base. Initially, these units flew helicopters of the type Sikorsky H-34 which were used extensively during the relief operation following the disastrous North Sea flood of 1962. Another type of helicopter that was stationed in this period at Rheine Air Base was the Alouette II.
In 1974, the CH-53 replaced the by now obsolete Sikorsky H-34 and has been in service ever since. A small number of Bo 105VBH is also stationed at Rheine. In 1975, the air base was officially named Theodor Blank Barracks after the first Federal Minister of Defence of Germany.
All units stationed at Rheine Air Base were incorporated into Army Aviation Medium Transport Regiment 15 in 2003.
In 2004, after a further restructuring of the Bundeswehr, during which a large number of bases were closed, Army Aviation Medium Transport Regiment 15 was given the honorary name Münsterland, this being the result of the German Army's continuing commitment to the base at the time.
Army Aviation Medium Transport Regiment 15 was part of Airmobile Operations Division.
In October 2011 the German Federal Ministry of Defence announced a reorganisation/reduction of the German Armed Forces. As a consequence, Army Aviation Medium Transport Regiment 15 and all auxiliary units were formally disbanded on 31 December 2012. The remaining military personnel will be employed at the defence depot. The number of military personnel at the air base will be reduced by almost 94 per cent to 120. A number of helicopters stationed at Rheine Air Base were relocated to either Laupheim Air Base in Southern Germany or Holzdorf Air Base in Saxony-Anhalt where they were integrated into Helicopter Wing 64. The rest will be decommissioned.
- "Luft(waffen)transport der Zukunft" (in German). Federal Ministry of Defence. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Quoted from Bundesministerium der Verteidigung (26 October 2011), Neues Stationierungskonzept der Bundeswehr (in German), retrieved 5 November 2011, PDF-file "Die Stationierung der Bundeswehr in Deutschland", p. 103
- Kampferbeck, Jens; Polke, Frank (26 October 2011), "Bundeswehr macht Rheine dicht - Münster wird verkleinert", Münsterländische Volkszeitung (in German), retrieved 5 November 2011
- Keblat, Jens (7 March 2013), "Bundeswehr schließt Standort - Ende der Heeresflieger in Rheine", Münstersche Zeitung (in German), retrieved 17 March 2013