51° Escadrille

51° ESCADRILLE MSL insigne_51esc

After their training in the United States, the personnel intended for the 51 Squadron returned to Belgium in July 1959 at the same time as those intended for the other units of unmanned aerial vehicles. Officially created on October 6, the squadron moved to Malmedy and deployed to the Roderhöhe site. On December 21, an evaluation team from USAREUR, AIRCENT Division, recognizes the operational capabilities of the unit. Helped by the personnel of the 50 Missile Squadron, the 51 Squadron participated from January 1960 in the air defense of Western Europe. If the operational site is located in Roderhöhe, the staff lives in the Sergent Mercy barracks in Malmedy. From December, he moved from Malmedy to Elsenborn.

The General Staff of 13 WETSA and 50 and 52 Squadrons redeployed to Düren in June 1962. Since the Mulheim sites had not yet been completed, 51 Squadron continued to share the Roderhöhe site with 53. On October 23, 1963, the 51 Squadron received a squadron pennant: a silver eagle placed in a red circle. On December 2, 1963, the 51 Squadron left the role of operational watch that it ensured on the site of Roderhöhe to redeploy on the site of Mülheim. On December 3, the first soldiers arrived in the Blankenheim garrison. Families manage to find accommodation in the surrounding villages. On June 6, 1964, the squadron was complete and, from August 4, it was considered operational. She was assigned to NATO in September 1964. The same month, the German school in Zingsheim made a room available to children of primary school age. In 1965, the school was transferred to the village of Lommersdorf where it has two premises. A guardian class is also born there but its existence, for lack of premises, is ephemeral in this village. Transporting children to school is a major problem: the villages where the families live are too dispersed. 51 Squadron was granted nuclear capability on November 16, 1965. In 1966, the squadron with the help of engineers began an experiment in the construction of NBC shelters using ovoid elements. This experience will be generalized later. 1966: it is also for the families of the garrison the creation of the consultation for infants, but especially the occupation of a part of the new city from December 19th. The twenty-four apartments and eleven newly completed houses are allocated to families with school-age children. The CMC and the school are reserved four apartments. On January 25, 1967, the primary school left the village of Lommersdorf and the caretaker school left the barracks. The school population reaches forty-six pupils (21 in primary, 25 in daycare) The Belgian city was completely finished in 1967 and occupied by the families. This installation does not prevent the exiguity of the barracks. Neighborhood expansion projects are accepted and the submission for the construction of a new block (Barracks and VC) is accepted.

During this time, the equipment (IFC System) of the 51 Squadron underwent technical modifications in July. These modifications did not prevent the unit from achieving, in December, the highest score ever obtained in ASP by an Improved Nike Hercules (INH) squadron. 51 Squadron was the first squadron of the Grp MSL to fire on this type of system. The work to enlarge the administrative site ended in 1968. This year also saw the start of construction of a school building. The courses are given, indeed, always in the two apartments of the city, already insufficient to lodge the families of the garrison. To cope with the housing shortage, the army rented twenty-six civilian houses or apartments. The request for the construction of a new building of twenty-five apartments is submitted to the territorial authorities. Among the outstanding activities of the year, let us mention the first prize obtained by the jazz orchestra of the unit during a major competition of military jazz orchestras organized on March 25 at the Parc Duden in Brussels. In 1969, emphasis was placed on the physical condition of the militiamen and, to this end, an obstacle course in the middle of nature was created. It is also the camouflage trials of the sites under the piercing eye of the unit's mascot: TACNA. On the basis of aerial photos, the experiments prove to be conclusive. They will later be generalized to all squadrons. In 1971, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in Central Europe awarded the "Scroll of Honor" to a Belgian unit for the first time for the brilliant results obtained during the tactical evaluation. This is also the year in which the unit obtained the Tactical Air Force Commander's Challenge (Thomson Chrome) In 1972, the 13 W MSL celebrated its splendor in Blankenheim. In 1979, the supremacy of the 50 Squadron, winner three years in a row of the Challenge of the Commander of the Grp MSL, is seen stopped by two other units. The 56 and 51 share the trophy for one year. The absence of any sports infrastructure constitutes for the garrison a handicap much more sensitive than in Düren or Euskirchen. To overcome this state of affairs, a dream, born in 1979, became reality on September 24, 1982. A tennis court and an obstacle course (the first track was destroyed by falling trees) were inaugurated on the few acres of land still free from the neighborhood far too cramped for its population. This inauguration follows by a few months that of the completely renovated troop canteen. On March 16, 1983, 51 Squadron organized the inaugural meeting of the 13 W MSL non-commissioned officer colloquium. A few weeks later, on April 23, it received RTBF within its walls. For the first time, television comes to record a variety show within the Belgian Forces in Germany. While 1983, following the rumors spread by the press, ends in some anxiety, 1984 begins rather well. The staff, following the decision to disband 52 Squadron, is reassured about its fate. However, it is a question of regrouping the families living outside the city in the seventy or so dwellings that the 52 Squadron will release in Euskirchen. This proposal, although saving nearly eight million francs, was not adopted for operational reasons. While the first months of the second quarter are used to analyze the results of the referendum of all the units, the squadron is chosen from all the units of the Air Force to participate in an exercise to assess the security of the sites: the "Training Performance Demonstration". Aggressors and attacked using laser means can finally live in conditions very similar to those of real combat: no error is allowed. The quality of the work carried out by the troop barely three weeks after its installation in the new guardhouse (SSCC) is remarkable. In March 1985, following the dissolution of the 52 Squadron, the dental office in Euskirchen moved to the medical center in Blankenheim. On July 1, the garrison acquires the title of Place. Some soldiers who transferred from Euskirchen to 51 Squadron are authorized to reside in Euskirchen. In 1987, the 51 Squadron was designated as a pilot squadron for the organization of language courses. The dedication and motivation of the civilian teachers ensure the success of such an experiment in the garrison. The absence of other possibilities for recreation also explains this success. On June 4, 1988, it was the start of the last shooting period in Crete. It was around 12:20 p.m. (local time) when, on June 8, the "Final Countdown" of 51 Squadron sounded and the last missile was fired. To mark this event, it had been painted in the national colors and decorated with the badge of the squadron. The nose was shaped like the silver head of a bitterly weeping shark. Result just as good as the 50 Squadron: 99%. The "Missile Away Party" was also a great success. Barely returned, the personnel tackles the dismantling of the American weapons. We have to move quickly because their departure is scheduled for July. It will take place on September 27. On September 1, Team D of the 43 Artillery Detachment leaves the Eifel for good. Then, it's the last tactical evaluation. On May 27 and 28, 1989, the squadron organized its last "open house". It's her way of saying goodbye to the local people. The magnificent weather of this month of May will be there. On the 179th day of the year, June 27 at 08:22 Zulu, the squadron begins its last operational evaluation. On June 30 at 12:00 a.m. local time, she left the role of operational watch that she had been carrying out since 1964 in the garrison. On this occasion, the oldest held to take the positions they had occupied for so long. On July 1, the school closes. The empty buildings are handed over to the German authorities on July 12. While the sites are rapidly emptying of what is salvageable, heaps of scrap pile up on the launch site. They will be sold for the benefit of the treasury. With the exception of three nostalgics who remain on site, the moving of the families to other horizons, the return of the furniture and the handing over of the accommodation are going remarkably well thanks to the meticulous planning drawn up by the 13 Group. Many will leave the garrison with tears in their eyes. On November 1, 1989, the silver eagle definitively left its area.