Finthen Army Airfield



             Pictured below is an aerial photograph of Mainz-Finthen Flugplatz (airfield), Nazi Germany, circa May 1945.



Aerial photograph of Mainz-Finthen, Nazi Germany, circa May 1945.



             Pictured below is an aerial photograph of Mainz-Finthen Flugplatz (airfield), West Germany (FRG), circa September 1992. The top of the photograph is pointing about 170 degrees magnetic, or just about south.



Mainz-Finthen Airfield, the last resting place of the 205th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC) - "Geronimos".



             Somewhere in-between lays a portion of the history of the 205th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC) - "Geronimos".



             Acquired for use by the United States Army after the conclusion of World War Two, the former german Luftwaffe fighter base was named Finthen Army Airfield. Back in the days when wearing a Black Beret meant you were a fully qualified and feared U.S. Army Ranger, this airfield later became the last operational resting place of the 205th Assault Support Helicopter Company (ASHC) - "Geronimos". In the photograph at the top of the page, the hangar pictured near the top was the one the Geronimos operated out of for many years following their assignment in what was then the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), commonly known as West Germany.

             After relocating from the Republic of Vietnam to Fort Benning, Georgia, in the mid 1970's, the 205th ASHC was transferred to Finthen Army Airfield and essentially remained there until the last day before the unit was deactivated. On 19 November 1988, the 205th ASHC and the 295th ASHC - "Cyclones" performed a "Flag Swap". During its last 24 hours, the 205th ASHC was located at Coleman Army Airfield, Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, FRG. The 295th ASHC was located at Finthen Army Airfield for its last day in existance. On the following day, both units were de-activated and re-formed. The 205th became D Company, 502nd Aviation Regiment - "Cyclones". The 295th was divided into two smaller companies and became B Company - "Geronimos", 6th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment and E Company Task Force Griffin. Task Force Griffin was later re-named Task Force Warrior.

             B Company consisted of the Pilots, Flight Engineers, Crew Chiefs and the usual company administrative personnel. B Company was known as the "Operators". E Company consisted of the aircraft maintenance personnel and the usual, but much smaller, administrative support staff. E Company was known as the "Maintainers". The "Plan" was to take the 12th Aviation Brigade, then headquartered at Wiesbaden Air Base, FRG, and form a task force similar in capability to the Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Struggles for power and control soon developed between the two units, and cooperation and communication at the worker level ceased. The "Plan" was a dismal failure and resulted in completely isolating B and E companies from each other, even though the two units occupied the same hangar.

             When the the 205th ASHC arrived at Finthen in the mid 70s, the unit consisted of nineteen CH-47C Chinooks, one UH-1H Huey, and about 385 personnel. In November of 1987, the 205th ASHC received the first eight D model Chinooks and began the turn-in of all the older C models. In the Spring of 1988, the unit received its second batch of eight Chinooks, which brought the unit up to the full authorized strength of sixteen D model Chinooks. The number of assigned personnel dwindled to approximately 185. The remaining C models were sent stateside to round out other units.

             In August 1990, B and E Companies deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield / Storm through May 1991. In December 1991, the word had spread that the units would be de-activated and that Finthen would be closed. In September 1992, both companies were de-activated and the closure of Finthen Army Airfield was completed by the end of November 1992. The control of the airfield and its associated housing area was turned over to the German government.



          The CH-47 - 40 years old and still circling the world.


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