[ Baden Soellingen ]

CF-18 Era
1984 - 1993
In 1984, the sky above Baden was streaked with silver grey as the first four CF- 18s arrived on base. Later in the year, 3 RCR officially ended its operations at CFB Baden-Soellingen and the maroon and gold banner of 2 PPCLI unfurled at Battalion Headquarters. Still later, when relatives back in Canada were shoveling out from under piles of snow, Baden was experiencing its warmest Christmas on record.

Other exciting events in 1984 included the opening of the Baden Hills Golf Course and the purchase of a new bus for Community Services.

In 1985, 439 Squadron officially reactivated and once again the NATO Tigers were at full strength. Earlier that year, Maj Gary Liddiard led the first four CF-18s from 409 Squadron across the Atlantic. The Nighthawks went on to form the first CF-18 squadron at Baden. On 30 October, 421 Squadron was stood down and would not resume flying activities again until June 1986.

1985 was also the year that the towns of Hugelsheim and Grand Center, Alberta became twins. The official twinning took place on 6 October. In Baden-Baden, Caracalla Therme opened its doors for the first time. On Friday, 16 August, thousands of spectators enjoyed the opening festivities which lasted throughout the weekend.

1986 welcomed 421 Squadron back to its old hunting grounds in Central Dispersal. And despite a bright, but bitterly cold day on 2 March, hundreds turned out to attend the Close-out of the remaining CF-104s of 441 Squadron. The ceremonies included a parade, a fly past and an open house.

1986 was also the year the Community Services Video Club became computerized and travel services offered its first trip to the Soviet Union.

1987 was a good year for Canadians at Baden. During the year, the new Hochfield PMQ project was officially opened and Canada became the first NATO country to complete its modular personnel shelters (submarines). In the summer, satellite television was also approved for the base and contractors proceeded to bring base residents extended reception.

In 1988, the base finally acquired the land parcel east of the present fence line of CFB Baden-Soellingen, from the main gate to the entrance of the North Marguerite to make room for more facilities. Also in the spring, shopping was brought closer to home with the completion of the new Hochfield PMQ shopping center.

As 1988 headed into summer, 2 PPCLI prepared to return to Winnipeg and 3 RCR was welcomed back to Germany. In November 1988 the new 1 AMS Headquarters building was opened. This also marked the 17th anniversary of 1AMS. In 1989 construction began on a new church hall to be located between the Protestant and Roman Catholic chapels. In April 1990 a new Baskin-Robbins/Treats outlet opened in thc Baden Mall.

In September 1990, Canadian officials announced that an augmented 409 Squadron would deploy CF-18 aircraft to the Persian Gulf. This marked the first time since WWII that the Canadian Air Force had deployed for possible hostile actions. With the announcement, the pace of activities around the base really picked up: additional security was implemented in case of terrorist reprisals, most of the base went onto an immediate recall system, and flying activity was at a maximum. When the squadron actually did deploy, all support services on base were pushed to the limit in an effort to ensure they were adequately re-provisioned.

In October 1990 a surprise announcement detailed that 100 members of 3RCR would deploy to Qatar as part of the airfield security force. This meant that a large number of personnel from the base were away from home and the support of those families left behind became a matter of prime interest for those still on base.

In December 1990 it was announced that 439 Tactical Fighter Squadron would replace 409 Squadron in Qatar. Activity continued at a frantic pace, as augmenters from Canada were trained in NBCW procedures and were issued with the required kit. When hostilities broke out on 15 January, 1991, the entire base listened anxiously for news and when peace was announced on 28 February, the entire base breathed a sigh of relief. The next few weeks saw a returning of the personnel from the Gulf and a steady move back to some form of normal living.

In September 1991 the Commander Canadian Forces Europe Major-General Brian Smith announced that Canada would close the Canadian Forces Base at Baden-Soellingen in 1994. The federal budget in February 1992 advanced this date to 1993. As part of the closure process, 409 Squadron disbanded on 25 June 1991 and was followed by 421 Squadron's disbandment on 1 June 1992. The Air Defence Battery ceased operations on 3 1 March 1992 and the airfield is to close on 31 March 1993. At the time of this writing it was planned to relocate 3 Royal Canadian Regiment to Camp Borden, Ontario, repatriate 1 Air Maintenance Squadron to CFB Cold Lake, and disband the remaining fighter squadron, 439 Squadron, on 31 May 1993.4 Wing will disband on 30 June 1993 and the Base will close on 31 December 1993.

Related Links:

[ Baden Remembered | Forty Years ]