& Air Force Exchange Service, Europe
US Army, Europe
Looking for more information from military/civilian
personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army
in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any
stories or thoughts on the subject, please email me (webmaster).
Crossroads PX & Snack Bar, Schumann Theater, Frankfurt, 1955 (Webmaster's collection) (This facility is a wonderful representative for all the AES / EES / AAFES activities that served
Armed Forces personnel and their dependents during the post-WWII years in Europe.)
Click on image to view timeline in PDF format
(This is a DRAFT - will add to it as I find more information. Input from readers always welcome!!!)
Exchange Service History
European Exchange Service Headquarters until 1969, Nürnberg (Exchange Associate)
EES, then AAFES, Headquarters, Munich, after 1969 (Exchange Associate)
(Source: Serving Those Who Serve, EES, Special Activities Section, HQ USAREUR, no date)
History of the Exchange in Europe, 1943 - 1970", HQ AAFES-Eur,
APO 09245, 1970)
Although an Exchange service of sorts operated in Europe during
World War I, it is generally conceded that welfare agencies such
as the American Red Cross and the YMCA bore the lion's share of
the burden of supplying the day-to-day necessities to our Doughboys.
During World War II the Exchange returned to Europe in the form
of the ARMY EXCHANGE SERVICE. That organization was born on 24
April 1943 in London and was operated within the framework of
the Theater Quartermaster. The first commander was Brigadier General
Joseph W. Byron.
The campaigns to follow would see Exchange support often within
sight of combat.
North Africa, Sicily, Italy, the Normandy invasion and in through
France and into Germany, wherever America's fightingmen trod,
the Exchange was there.
When the fighting ceased in an area, the Exchange moved into semi-permanent
locations with the Army of Occupation. In 1945, for example, Au
Printemps department store in Paris became a PX.
With the destruction of the Third Reich, an Exchange Service designed
to meet the needs of a mobile soldier remained in Europe to be
tasked with providing for an occupation force which would later
expand to become a city of well over a half-million people spread
across three continents.
* * *
After the war the London headquarters moved to Paris to be established
in the Majestic Hotel within sight of the Eiffel Tower. That move
was completed in August 1945.
(Editor's note: At this writing I am still researching and trying
to place Colonels Farnsworth and White -- not former AFEX commander.
Old Exchange hands recall those men as early commanders, probably
between Brigadier General Byron and Colonel Lutz. One account
claims that Colonel White followed General Byron and died while
serving as Exchange chief. Colonel Farnsworth may have been the
man who moved the headquarters from London to Paris in 1945. Since
neither can be verified these names have been shelved; however,
they will be added and correctly placed at the earliest possible
By late 1945 Quartermaster responsibility for Exchange operations
had shifted to the Army of Occupation's Special Activities Division.
The title, Army Exchange Service, was retained, however, and Colonel
Charles A. Lutz served as the commanding officer.
The headquarters did not remain in Paris long, though, for that
same year plans were formulated to relocate to the heart of the
US troop concentration. The Exchange moved to Hoechst, Germany,
in January-March 1946.
Hoechst, center for much of the IG Farben industrial empire of
the Hitler era, and a suburb of Frankfurt, was a locale generally
spared the horrors of the war. It was into those very Farben buildings
that the Exchange moved.
Colonels Lutz, T. R. Phillips and A. C. Morgan commanded Exchange
operations over the next year as the US forces began to stabilize
and adapt to the task of guarding freedom's frontier against a
new menace -- Communism.
To fully grasp what running an overseas Exchange in those days
meant, it must be realized that all of Germany and indeed most
of post-war Europe was little more than a sea of rubble and shattered
Currencies were worthless. Stores were empty. Textiles were scarce.
There were few buildings and warehouses available for immediate
use. Where goods were stored, pilferage was rampant. The Blackmarket
was everywhere and most items were strictly rationed.
Back home a nation untouched by bombs and destruction nevertheless
was faced with shortages. What could be obtained was difficult
to deliver and shelve. Colonel T. R. Phillips described the situation
at his July 1946 Army Exchange Conference in these words:
The merchandise situation in the States is such that noneof you
would believe it. Gods just can't be had. We ordered twenty thousand
women's shorts and slacks several months ago, and we were told
we would get half in September and half just in time for winter.
Orders had to be projected as much as a year in advance. Much
of the merchandise found its way onto the Blackmarket. It was
also difficult to completely change a wartime distribution system
that demanded a heavy supply in the stores with small reserves
rather than vice versa.
Regarding that Blackmarket, Colonel Phillips voiced the observation
Many people are using cigarettes for services, laundry, etc.,
and patronizing the blackmarket. I believe 50 percent of the people
stopped smoking when they realized the value of cigarettes. (Note:
at that time each adult was rationed 10 packs of popular-brand
cigarettes, plus two so-called off-brand.)
Since the domestic front offered little hope of adequate merchandise
stocks for PX customers, the Exchange opened buying offices in
Switzerland, Sweden, France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany,
Italy, Belgium, England and Scotland. Inflationary trends and
the fact that many of those countries were war-torn also resulted
in a critical situation -- as problem-riddled and challenge-strewn,
from a supply viewpoint, as the war itself had been. A sidenote
to those early post-war days was the fact that civilian employees
wore a uniform and were generally treated like active duty soldiers
(actually most civilian employees in those days were ex-soldiers
who either were discharged overseas to work for the Exchange or
were hired in New York and returned soon after).
It was not until 1949-1950 that snazzy stateside-styled suits
and dresses began to be seen in the civilian military-associated
community. Even then, Americans assigned to depots or out-of-the-way
locations still wore olive drab.
At that time one depot served as a major clearinghouse for all
merchandise shipped into Europe from the States -- the Katterbach
depot located near Ansbach, Germany. That depot was rebuilt from
the rubble of a former Luftwaffe air base. The task of rebuilding
fell to German SS prisoners of war.
EES Depot at Katterbach, no date provided (Exchange Associate)
The early summer of 1947 saw the Exchange headquarters again pull
up stakes and move, this time to the entirely different environment
of the famed resort town of Bad Nauheim.
Spa and health center since the days of the Romans, Bad Nauheim
provided the Exchange not with industrial buildings for office
space. This time the two best hotels in town housed the headquarters.
The spring of 1948 ushered in a period of crisis for the entire
Free World as the opening salvo of what would be termed the Cold
War was fired with the initiation of the Soviet blockade of the
Four-Power-controlled city of Berlin, located 110 miles inside
the Russian Zone.
As American and British pilots braved the blockade by round-the-clock
mercy missions to relieve the starving and freezing people of
that city,so, too, was the Exchange on the scene.
Canteens, mobile exchanges and temporary PXs of every size and
description became fixtures at airports and supply points throughout
Free Europe to provide continuous relief to the haggard and exhausted
The blockade, to run from 1 April 1943 through 30 September 1949
would see 2,343,315 tons of food and coal airlifted into Berlin,
a feat supported from start to finish by an Exchange which had
perfected the "instant response" method of service just a few
short years earlier during World War II.
EES Symbol (1950s)
this period, the Exchange in Europe became known as the EUCOM EXCHANGE
SYSTEM (European Conmand). The organization still functioned within
the jurisdiction of the Special Activities Division of USAREUR.
It was commanded by Colonel A. C. Spalding and consisted of seventeen
Exchanges in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and England. It operated
with a combined US and local national workforce of roughly 16,000
In Germany before a currency reform in June 1948, local national
employees were paid with the old Reichsmark, worth about 10 cents.
When the currency was reformed, the new Deutsche Mark was worth
30 cents, but inflationary trends and a weak economy soon reduced
it to 23.8 cents, a level it held for many years afterward. Through
those years, the Exchange headquarters was still in search of a
permanent home, and as the War Crimes Trials held at Nuernberg's
Palace of Justice sped toward completion, plans to move with the
entire Special Activities Division became a reality.
Over the period February through April 1949 that move was completed.
An aspect that sheds quite some light on the makeup of the headquarters
at that time is that some 500 military and civilian US employees
made the move, plus 115 American dependents.
Compared to that figure only 25 German employees were retained in
the move, a situation that would be greatly reversed in moves to
come much later.
With the activation of the Third Air Force in England, an independent
exchange (United Kingdom Exchange) was begun in October 1949 to
meet the needs of that unit. Later, a similar circumstance took
place in Libya.
As the Air Force continued its buildup overseas and units began
appearing throughout France, North Africa and the Mediterranean,
it appeared for a time there were many who felt that the Exchange
Service could well revert back to the World War I policy of separate
exchanges for the various units.
A study was then begun with an eye toward Army and Air Force exchanges
to function as two separate entities.
From 1949 through 1951, as that possibility was debated, Air Force
Colonel. C. E. Frederick served as the EUCOM Exchange commander.
On 1 January 1952 it happened. Following an extensive inter-service
study, the UNITED STATES AIR FORCES EUROPE EXCHANGE (AFEX) was born.
to be added in the future
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Nov 5, 1969)
List of exchange area commanders:
Berlin Area Ex
Maj Roy E. Brians
Lt Col Edwin O. Jones
North Germany, Sub-Office Frankfurt
Maj Lawrence P. Lauck
Lt Col Thomas J. Monaghan
Central Germany, Sub-Office Heidelberg
Maj James M. Turbok
Central Germany, Sub-Office Stuttgart
Maj Jack R. Harper
Lt Col Charles F. Otten, Jr.
South Germany, Sub-Office Munich
Maj Samuel Williams
Col Jefferson T. Holman
Lt Col David H. Davis
Lt Col Harold J. Lentz
Lt Col Tandell L. Rayborn
Maj Joseph W. Kuehn, Jr.
Maj Billy R. Adair
Lt Col Milton L. Peek
Hundred Years of Service: A History of the Army and Air Force Exchange
Service, COL Carol A. Habgood and LT COL Marcia Skaer, HQ AAFES,
Dallas, October 1994)
At one time, there were 10 independent exchanges serving US forces
in Europe. Two closed in the 1950s: The American Graves Registration
Service-Mediterranean and TRUST Exchange Service, US Troops, Trieste.
The remaining eight eventually merged into either the European Command
Exchange System (EES) or the Air Forces Europe Exchange (AFEX). In
turn, EES and AFEX merged into EES in 1964, which by then had been
renamed the European Exchange System, keeping the same EES designation.
And in January 1972, EES and AFEX became part of the worldwide Army
and Air Force Exchange Service, completing the worldwide integration
of exchanges that started in 1970.
European Exchange Service AES, Europe. On V-E day, the Army
Exchange Service was operating in the European Theater,
under the oversight of the G-1 Division, U.S. Forces, European Theater,
with headquarters in Paris, France. When hostilities ended, a priority
became providing exchange services for the hundreds of thousands of
troops being redeployed. Full-scale planning for the occupation began
late in 1945. The plan for exchange services "envisaged a mission
for the Army Exchange Service vastly more comprehensive than any previously
factors added to the burden of planning for exchange services
and facilities. The AES in Germany would have to replace
civilian facilities, not merely supplement them. Dependents
would be arriving, increasing the services and variety
of merchandise required. Local procurement would have
to provide goods and facilities as much as possible. Because
Germany would not be able to provide most materials, AES
would have to obtain them elsewhere.
The AES staff concluded "there was no chance for them
to make a success of their important project under the
existing exchange system. Their main objection was that
the . . . Army Exchange Service had no control over post
exchanges and post exchange officers. The latter were
appointed by the local commanders, and were responsible
A plan was submitted and underwent several revisions before it was finally approved on 4 March 1946. Under the final approved version, three regional offices were established under AES control. The regional officers were given powers of supervision over the exchanges in their areas of responsibility. The plan also called for setting up "super-exchanges" in the main communities of the United States Zone. There were three classifications of exchanges, depending upon the size of the military community being served. The final approved version of the plan, however, "transferred the community exchanges from the direct control of the Army Exchange Service to that of the local community commander." The military communities and their exchanges were activated in May 1946, the regional offices by 1 August. While the planning for AES services was going on, responsibility for EUCOM oversight of AES was transferred to special services on 13 March 1946.
The mission of
AES in Europe . . . was no different from the basic function of the Army Exchange
Service in other overseas theaters, or even in the United States;
but there was a great difference in the scope of operations required
to fulfill this function. Apart from the Quartermaster commissary
stores for dependents, the Exchange-operated stores in the European
Theater were the only establishments from which necessities and conveniences
of life, over and above the normal messing facilities, could be obtained
. . . .It became necessary for the Army Exchange Service to provide
the military population of the US. Zone with many goods and services
which they normally would have bought in neighborhood stores, as well
as those which are the normal stock in trade of a post exchange in
the United States.
Thus, AES became an "extensive and complicated business and an important
factor in the life of the forces of the European theater." The U.S.
Forces, European Theater was redesignated the European Command on
15 March 1947.
In April 1947, a major organizational change took place in AES in
Europe. "The vast scope of AES activities and the tremendous attendant
problems led to the establishment, effective 1 April 1947, of the
European Command Board of Directors, Army Exchange Service."
The board became the governing body of AES. "The Chief, Army Exchange
Service, was not authorized to put into effect any major changes in
policy, rationing or prices nor to add any major activity to the Exchange
Service without submitting such changes or additions through the Chief,
Special Services, to the Board of Directors for approval."
A few weeks later. the most radical change in organization in the
AES in Europe happened when the entire system was centralized. "Primarily,
centralization would have the effect of placing all employees throughout
the theater under the direct control of the Chief, Army Exchange Serevice,
and this would give much more complete control than had been possible
before." Centralization was supported by the vast majority of senior
EUCOM Exchange System. On 26 June 1947, the AES in Europe
became the EUCOM Exchange
System (EES). All exchange activities within the
occupied zones of Germany, France, and Austria were merged into a
single, centralized exchange organization, the European Command Exchange
System, with headquarters at Bad Nauheim, Germany.
In addition, the European Command Exchange Council "as established,
replacing the former EUCOM Board of Directors, AES. The commanding
general of each major command of EUCOM was tasked to appoint a senior
officer to serve on the exchange council. In addition, the commanding
generals appointed an NCO to serve on the EUCOM Noncommissioned Officers'
Committee of the exchange system. The chief of the special services
section under the assistant chief of staff, G-1, was still responsible
for the control, operation, and supervision of the exchange system.
Under the old AES organization, the AES personnel
branch was responsible only for those assigned to the headquarters.
However, under the centralized EES, the personnel division had authority
to hire key personnel both in the headquarters and in field units
of the exchange system.
"Thus, the functions of the major commanders and post commanders,
in so far as post exchange operation was concerned, were reduced to
assisting the EES-appointed Post Exchange Officer in the conduct of
his exchange. All control and supervision were removed from Army commanders,
except that they were authorized to appoint a post exchange board
to report and advise on Exchange matters."
Headquarters EUCOM Circular 48, dated 27 June 1947, "Establishment
of the EUCOM Exchange System," was the directive establishing the
EUCOM Exchange System, effective 26 June. It also authorized the establishment
of district offices, which had been established in February 1947,
in anticipation of centralization. District offices were located in
Bad Nauheim, Heidelberg, Erlangen, Munich and Vienna. A large number
of operational duties formerly done by AES headquarters had been delegated
to the district offices when they were established. When the EUCOM
Exchange System was established, it took over the district offices.
district offices were replaced by two regional offices
on 25 October 1947. Regional Exchange Office Number 1
was established at Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg, and
Regional Exchange Office Number 2 was established at Munich.
Under Regional Exchange Office 1 were the post
exchanges at Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Stuttgart,
Wetzlar, Wiesbaden and Wurzburg. Those assigned to Regional
Exchange Office 2 were at Augsburg, Bad Toelz, Garmisch,
Munich, Nuernberg and Regensburg. Post exchanges lying
outside the main area of the U.S. Zone of Germany were
under the direct control of the EUCOM exchange officer.
On 1 April 1948, the regional offices were internally
reorganized making them primarily operations divisions
in the field. "In the reorganization, emphasis was placed
upon delegation of responsibilities and authority to post
level exchange systems." On 16 September 1948, the regional
offices were abolished and complete responsibility
for field operations was placed upon the exchange systems
of the military posts. From February to April 1949, EES
headquarters moved from Bad Nauheim to the Palace of Justice
in Nuernberg, Germany, formerly the site of the historic
Nuernberg trials after World War II.
On 1 August 1952, EUCOM was redesignated U.S. Army, Europe, and a new United States European Command was established. The EUCOM Exchange System in turn was redesignated the European Exchange System. Responsibility for EES on the U.S. Army, Europe staff was assigned to the special activities division, G-1.
Snack Bar price list, date unknown (Click on image to view a higher resolution version)
The one exchange that did not merge with EES in 1947, was the Kagnew
Station Exchange in Eritrea, Ethiopia. Established in October 1942,
during World War II, it operated as an independent exchange. When
it started, it shared a building with the post theater and exchange
concessions. Eventually, it grew into a complex of 19 exchange activities
on Kagnew Station, a retail store 500 miles away in Addis Ababa, supporting
the Military Assistance Advisory Group, and a central warehouse in
Originally, Eritrea was to be the headquarters for operations in the
Middle East, with the port at Massawa to be the main supply port.
At the same time, Eritrea was being developed to assist in ferrying
of planes to the China-Burma-India theater. But the fighting was over
in Eritrea long before the United States arrived there. When the Germans
were stopped at El Alamein, the role of Eritrea changed significantly.
Construction of port, manufacturing and air base facilities stopped.
However, it was discovered that Eritrea was an ideal location for
radio transmission and reception; so a radio station was built there,
and it became the biggest and busiest in the Army.
In January 1957, a fire destroyed the main exchange building and several
other structures causing $125,000 in loss and damages. Most of the
records from 1942-1957 were also destroyed in the fire. Five months
later, the exchange opened in its new building. On 26 September 1967,
the Kagnew Exchange merged with the 20-year old EES. On 1 July 1973,
the Kagnew Exchange transferred to the Navy, ending AAFES operations
EES Curtailed Services to Air Forces Europe Units. When
the Air Force became a separate service in September 1947, it continued
to use the Army Exchange Service rather than establish its own exchange
system. In Europe, EES provided the Air Force with its exchanges.
However, in 1951, the commander in chief, European Command, decided
to terminate EES services to United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE)
installations in France and North Africa, effective 28 June 1951.
At that time, the Air Force was increasing its forces in France, North
Africa, and the Mediterranean. Without EES exchange support, USAFE
had to establish a separate exchange system to serve those areas.
To allow USAFE time to develop exchange acilities in France and North
Africa, EUCOM and USAFE reached an interim operating agreement on
26 June for EES to continue service until 31 December.
"During this temporary period, the type of support [provided by EES]
will be what we generally call a 'barrack exchange service,' that
is, cigarettes, candy bars, razors, shaving soap, toothbrushes, tooth
powder, and whatever may be classed as necessary items for a soldier
Extensive correspondence was carried on between EUCOM and USAFE during
the fall of 1951. On 17 August, the USAFE chief of staff asked the
EUCOM commander in chief to reconsider the decision to limit EES services
to EUCOM command elements and units:
. . . .Additional Army as well as Air Force troops are arriving
in Europe to be deployed in locations at present not within the EUCOM
area . . . . In the EUCOM Exchange System, which heretofore has served
both Army and Air Force commanders in Germany and France as well as
the Commander-in-Chief, US Forces Austria, you have a strongly organized,
well-equipped, soundly financed central exchange agency admirably
fitted to extend its services not only to Air Force units arriving
in France but to Army and Air Force units ,scheduled for Italy and
North Africa ....
Extension of the EUCOM Exchange System, a joint-Army Air Force operation
under your command, would seem highly desirable in the face of Congressional
concern respecting economic utilization of military resources and
in the interest of supply and manpower economy, services unification,
and maximum utilisation of a complex exchange overhead staff easily
able to assume substantial added burdens at minimum cost ....
It is not the desire of the Commander-in-Chief, USAFE to establish
a separate and parallel exchange system serving Air Force units in
France and North Africa as long as a possibility exists for an overall
However, the decision to curtail EES services to USAFE personnel
in France and North Africa was not changed. In a reply to the USAFE
chief of staff. the EUCOM chief of staff stated: "Subsequent to that
date [when EES services would cease], EES will furnish Exchange service
from its regularly operated stores to personnel of USAFE who are on
duty in areas predominantly occupied by Army elements, and it is assumed
that reciprocal service will be given to U.S. Army personnel in areas
where USAFE is predominant and has outlet stores."
The decision having been made to establish an exchange system to serve
authorized customers in the United Kingdom, North Africa, and Europe
outside the EUCOM and U.S. Forces, Austria sphere of responsibility
-- USAFE requested an advance credit of $3 million against EES for
USAFE to use in establishing and operating the new system by 1 January
1952, the date on which all EES emergency services would terminate
to those USAFE locations. In addition, USAFE requested a transfer
of a portion of USAFE assets "jointly accumulated since 1942 by Army
and Air Force personnel in Europe, Africa and the United Kingdom.
That request was turned down on 2 October 1951, based on the position
that responsibility for exchange service should follow command channels
and expansion financed by those who would receive the benefits of
the services. EUCOM and USAFE agreed to extend the temporary EES exchange
services to USAFE until 31 March 1951. They agreed to an exchange
agreement with the following basic principles:
USAFE to operate exchanges for troops under this command. This
will include all air troops in Europe except the Twelfth AF
which is a part of EUCOM.
b. Under certain conditions, if Twelfth AF units are transferred
elsewhere in the European Area, a proportionate share of EES
net worth will he transferred to their exchange.
c. EUCOM will operate exchanges for all troops under the European
Command and Austria.
d. Offshore procurement will be under the exchange service operating
in the country in which purchases are made. EES will procure
in countrie like Switzerland, Denmark, etc., AFEX will procure
in France and other agreed areas.
e. Cross servicing of exchanges has been provided for USAFE
's depot in southern France will service some EUCOM exchanges
and the EUCOM depot at Ansbach will service USAFE exchanges
in Northern France and areas close to the German border
f. The two exchange systems will not operate stores in the same
place -- competition will not exist. The service with the preponderance
of troops in an area will operate the exchange. There are very
few areas in France where a possibility of duplication will
g. The joint use of technicians such as auditors will be provided
on a reimbursable basis where appropriate.
Forces Europe Exchange
The Air Forces Europe Exchange (AFEX) system was originally established
to provide exchange services to Air Force people in France and Morocco.
However, in its 12-year lifetime, it expanded to serve military installations
in Libya, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Greece, Saudi
Arabia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, and Italy. Whether Air Force people
and their families were stationed in the London area or in the most
remote locations, AFEX was there providing them with the comforts
The building of an organizational structure for AFEX started in September
1951, when a USAFE liaison office was established at EES headquarters
in Nuernberg. On 1 October, the Air Forces Europe Exchange system
was officially established with the activation of the 7480th Supply
Squadron (Exchange Service) at Bordeaux, France. Organizationally,
AFEX was an operating responsibility of the commander in chief, USAFE,
exercised through the commander of the 7480th Supply Squadron (Exchange
Service). For purposes of this discussion, then, AFEX and the 7480th
are synonymous. The first commander assigned to the 7480th, as an
additional duty during the establishment of AFEX, had been the EUCOM
exchange officer for 28 months.
The 7480th would be under the USAFE assistant chief of staff, A-4
(materiel), special activities division. The special activities division
was established on 28 November 1951, to provide policy control and
supervision of AFEX, USAFE Class VI supply and USAFE motion picture
services. EUCOM had also terminated Class VI supply and motion picture
services to USAFE installations outside EUCOM. The AFEX French Morocco
Region (later designated the Morocco Region) headquarters was established
in Casablanca, North Africa, as Detachment 1, with responsibility
for exchanges in the Mediterranean-North African area. The France
Region headquarters was actuated at Bordeaux and designated as Detachment
2 of the 7480th. An AFEX office continued as liaison with EES in Nuemberg.
The start-up of AFEX was financed with loans from AAFES.
On 28 December 1951, AFEX became fully operational and took over the
following exchanges from EES: Nouasseur and Sidi Slimane Air Bases
and 5th Air Division Headquarters, Rabat, French Morocco (under Detachment
1); and Bordeaux Air Base and Chateauroux Air Depot, France (under
On 1 January 1953, Detachment 3, 7480th Supply Squadron (Exchange
Service) was established as the Libya Region of AFEX when the independent
Military Air Transport Service Exchange at Wheelus Air Base merged
with AFEX. The Libya Region headquarters was in Tripoli.
Responsibility on the USAFE staff for AFEX was transferred on 1 February
1953. The special activities division was transferred from the assistant
chief of staff, A-4 to the office of the chief of staff and redesignated
the Office of Special Activities. Responsibility for exchange operations
was in the command section, where it would remain until AFFX merged
with EES in 1964.
On 1 April 1953, Detachment 4, 7480th was established as the United
Kingdom Region of AFEX when the independent United Kingdom Exchange
System of Third Air Force merged with AFEX. Region headquarters remained
at RAF Sealand, England, where the U.K. Exchange System had been headquartered.
It addition to its responsibility for exchange operations throughout
the United Kingdom, the U.K. Region had satellite exchanges at Prestwick
and Kirknewton, Scotland, and provided buying services for the Air
Force people stationed in Osl,. Norway. U.K. Exchange Region headquarters
moved to RAF Feltwell, 30 October 1975.
deputy commander in chief, USAFE, directed, on 9 February
1953, the consolidation of all nonappropriated fund activities
of USAFE and its Third Air Force, to be effective 31 March.
Approval was given to move the USAFE Office of Special
Activities and its operating squadron, the 7480th Supply
Squadron (Exchange Service) from Bordeaux to London, England,
on or after 31 March. Concurrent with the move, the headquarters
of the U.K. Exchange System (Sealand, England) and AFEX
(Bordeaux, France) were consolidated with the USAFE Office
of Special Activities (Wiesbaden, Germany).
In May 1953, the move to London was completed, and the
7480th and the Office of Special Activities, Headquarters,
USAFE were in one location in interconnecting buildings
at 30 Old Burlington Street and 21 Cork Street, London.
Instead of operating out of three locations in three countries
as the organizations had done prior to the move, they
were finally in one location.
The 7480th Supply
Squadron (Exchange Service) was redesignated 7480th Supply Group (Special
Activities) on 1 October 1954, as it prepared to expand its responsibilities
into Spain, Netherlands, and Italy later in the year. AFEX extended
its services on 1 January 1955, when it assumed responsibility from
EES for exchanges serving Air Force installations in Germany and Austria.
Detachment 5 of the 7480th was established as the Germany Region with
its headquarters at Wiesbaden. In 1956, Detachment 5 was redesignated
as the Continental Region, with exchanges in France, Spain, and Germany
assigned to it. Detachment 2 (France Region) was then discontinued.
Headquarters AFEX moved from London to Mainz-Kastel, Wiesbaden, Germany,
15 January 1955. The move was completed by 15 February. On 1 July
1956, Detachment 6 was established as the Eastern Region after the
exchange at the Joint American Military Mission for Aid to Turkey
merged with AFEX
Exchange operations in Spain expanded into Seville and Zaragoza in
1956. As a result, the Spain Region was established as Detachment
7 on 1 January 1957, and the exchanges in Spain reassigned from the
Continental Region (Detachment 5) to the Spain Region. The independent
exchange at Dhahran Airfield, Saudi Arabia, joined AFEX on 1 July
1957, and was designated Dhahran Region (Operating Location 8), with
headquarters at Dhahran when AFEX took over the existing facilities.
Under a cross-servicing agreement between EES and AFEX, changes were
made in exchange responsibilities in Germany, France, and Italy on
26 September 1957. AFEX assumed responsibility for all exchange activities
in areas under Air Force jurisdiction, while EES assumed responsibility
for exchanges in areas under Army control. Munich, in Army territory,
had been served by AFEX. EES took over there. Wiesbaden, then headquarters
for USAFE, was an EES operation, and was turned over to AFEX.
Greece joined the AFEX family on 23 January 1958, as the exchange
serving the Joint U.S. Military Aid Group to Greece transferred to
AFEX and became Detachment 10. The warehouse and headquarters for
the Greece Region were in Athens. In late 1959, AFEX extended exchange
operations into West Pakistan, assigning responsibility to the Greece
On 1 April 1962, AFEX operations closed at Dhahran Airfield when the
1957 Airfield Agreement was not renewed by the Saudi Arabian government.
In 1963, Morocco transferred from Detachment 1 to Detachment 7, effective
23 January. In October 1963, AFEX provided unit-operated exchange
support for the U.S. Military Supply Mission-India, at Palam Air Base,
New Delhi, India. The Continental Region supported that activity from
Chateauroux AB, France. Detachment 1 was subsequently discontinued.
Also in 1963, Italy was reassigned from the Continental Region (Detachment
5) to the Greece Region (Detachment 10), effective 23 September. In
December 1963, AFEX operations ended in Morocco as the United States
left that country with the expiration of the treaty granting the United
States the right to maintain air bases there. The last AFEX employee
left on one of the last C-54 flights leaving Morocco.
Wheelus Exchange, Libya
The Wheelus Exchange is discussed earlier in this chapter in the Atlantic
Offshore section, as an ATC Overseas Central Exchange. It merged with
AFEX on 1 January 1953, and closed on 31 May 1970.
United Kingdom Exchange System
After Berlin airlift operations began in June
1948, the United States sent additional troops to Europe to support
that operation. One of the important logistical centers was the depot
it established at RAF Burtonwood, England. That installation was designated
the Burtonwood Air Force Depot on 12 September 1948, and the 59th
Air Depot Wing was organized at Burtonwood on 11 October 1948. During
World War II, Burtonwood had served as an Air Force maintenance center.
After the war, with no military assigned there, the base deteriorated.
It was revived in 1948, to service the planes used in the Berlin airlift.
Exchange services were provided by the EES when it established the
England Post Exchange System, headquartered at Burtonwood, in June
1948. The system was under the administrative control of the Wiesbaden,
Germany, Exchange until 26 October 1948, when it became an autonomous
unit of EES. The England Post Exchange System became an independent
operation of the Air Force's Third Air Division in March 1949, and
was redesignated the United Kingdom Exchange System.
Third Air Force was established in May 1951, replacing the former
Third Air Division that had been activated as a provisional organization
on 16 July 1948. The U.K. Exchange System was assigned under the Third
Air Force assistant chief of staff, materiel.
On 9 February 1953, the deputy commander in chief of USAFE directed
that all the nonappropriated fund activities within USAFE and Third
Air Force be consolidated, effective 31 March. On 1 April, the United
Kingdom Exchange System merged with AFEX, and the United Kingdom Region
was established within AFEX. Region headquarters was at RAF Sealand,
having moved there on 26 September 1951.
Dhahran Airfield Exchange
Dhahran Airfield was opened in May 1946. The exchange operated as
an independent exchange until 1 July 1957, when it merged with AFEX.
It became Operation Location 8 (Dhahran Region), with headquarters
at Dhahran. On 1 April 1962, AFEX operations closed at Dhahran Airfield
when the 1957 Airfield Agreement was not renewed by the Saudi Arabian
Joint U.S. Military Aid to
On 24 February 1947, England advised the United States that, due to
financial difficulties at home, it would discontinue assistance to
Greece and Turkey at the end of March. A week later, the Greek government
asked for U.S. aid. On 12 March, President Harry Truman asked Congress
for $300 million for aid to Greece. Congress authorized $200 million.
In December 1947, the joint chiefs of staff established the Joint
U.S. Military Assistance and Planning Group-Greece to give operational
assistance and logistic advice to the Greek armed forces. In 1948.
the U.S. Army Group, Greece established a post exchange in the American
Mission in Athens. On 23 January 1958, AFEX established Detachment
10 (Greece Region) as it assumed responsibility for operating the
exchange of the Joint U.S. Military Aid Group to Greece.
Joint American Military Mission
for Aid to Turkey Exchange
When President Truman asked Congress for funds for Greece, he also
asked for $100 million for aid to Turkey. Congress approved that amount.
In 1948, the chief of the U.S. Army Group, Turkey, asked the adjutant
general of the Army to designate "the Athens Post Exchange and Commissary
to service the Turk Mission in addition to the Greek Mission." That
request was approved and the U.S. Army Group, Greece was directed
to service the mission in Turkey.
On 25 July 1949, the Joint Welfare Board disapproved
a request from the coordinator, Military Aid to Turkey, for a monthly
grant from the joint Army and Air Force central welfare fund. The
board stated that a post exchange
would be established in Ankara "in the near future." By November 1959,
there was a post exchange established in Ankara, in support of the
Joint American Military Mission for Aid to Turkey. On 1 July 1956,
the post exchange at the Ankara mission merged with AFEX and became
Detachment 6 (Eastern Region).
Merger of EES and AFEX
By 1964, both AFEX and EES were operating exchange services that provided
duplicate services. On 7 March 1964, the Board of Directors of the
Army and Air Force Exchange and Motion Picture Services and the vice
chiefs of staff of the Army and the Air Force approved a plan to consolidate
EES and AFEX. effective 25 July 1964.
"This merger was both desirable and necessary to avoid duplication
of effort within the European theater of both sales and service to
U.S. military personnel and their families. The Headquarters for this
new consolidated organization would be Nuernberg, Germany."
The merger of the two exchange systems meant that the 7480th Supply
Group (Special Activities) would be phased out and the Class VI activity
assigned as an autonomous agency on the USAFE staff. The AFEX regions
were redesignated as EES Regions and transferred to the operational
control of EES on 25 July 1964. The commanders in chief of U.S. Army,
Europe and U.S. Air Forces Europe exercised joint responsibility for
the new EES through a joint exchange board. U.S. Army Europe was designated
the executive agent for EES.
The commander in chief (CINC), acting as executive agent, exercised
command responsibility over the joint exchange system and was responsible
to the commander in chief of the other service for the operation of
exchanges on his installations. "Command responsibility to higher
headquarters will rest upon the CINC operating as executive agent.
The CINC not designated as the executive agent will have direct access
to the Commander EES for normal consultation, service, guidance and
The joint agreement signed by the two commanders in chief also spelled
out the responsibility of the joint board. "The Joint Exchange Board,
hereinafter referred to as the Board, will recommend broad policy
guidance which, when approved by both CINCs, will be implemented by
the executive agent. The Board will also recommend to both CINCs appropriate
joint regulations governing exchange operations." AFEX and EES thus
merged on 25 July 1964. AFEX's operational unit, the 7480th Supply
Group (Special Activities), was discontinued 15 August.
The consolidation of EES and AFEX caused an overlap in the geographical
areas of responsibility in continental Europe. EES had six districts,
all located in continental Europe, while AFEX had six regions, only
one of which covered the continent except for Spain and Southern Italy.
The EES districts were: North German, South German, Berlin, Bremerhaven,
French, and Italian Districts. The AFEX regions were: Spain, United
Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Continental, and Libya Regions.
The districts and regions of EES and AFEX were replaced by nine new
EES regions: Spain, United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Libya,
North German, South German, and French Regions.
After 12 years of independent operation, the AFEX merger with EES
marked "the end of an era and the beginning of a period of progress
for USAFE base exchanges. Consolidation of AFEX and EES will result
in elimination of duplicated overhead expenses, concentration of executive
knowledge, consolidation of inventories, central control of the transportation
fleet, modernization of the accounting system . . . . and more responsiveness
to customer demands and needs."
The year 1967 was marked by the closing of EES operations in India
and France. Exchange operations in support of the U.S. Supply Mission-India,
in New Delhi ended on 30 June, after four years of first AFEX, then
EES service. Three months later, on 30 September, the last EES operation
in France closed. During its lifetime, the France Region had been
the largest in EES with 532 exchange outlets and support activities.
Two years later, EES ended its operations in Libya and Pakistan, both
operations that had been started by AFEX and continued by EES after
the merger of AFEX and EES in 1964. When Wheelus AB, Tripoli, Libya,
closed in March 1969, exchange operations also stopped. Ten years
of exchange services ended in Pakistan, 15 December 1969.
After 20 years in historic Nuernberg, EES headquarters started its
move to Munich, in February 1969. On 28 July, the American flag was
lowered for the last time at the Palace of Justice and EES headquarters
was declared operational at McGraw Kaserne, Munich, in a building
that had been a supply kaserne for the SS during World War II. By
3 December, the last of the people and equipment moved into the new
Merger with AAFES
On 27 January 1972, EES became a part of AAFES as integrated management
of exchanges was extended worldwide. There were seven area exchanges
under EES at that time: Berlin, North Germany, South Germany, Middle-East,
Italy, Spain, and United Kingdom Area Exchanges.
The Middle-East Area Exchange was headquartered at Athens and had
replaced the Greece and Turkey Area Exchanges. (However, later in
1972, the Greece and Turkey Area Exchanges were reestablished and
the Middle-East Area Exchange discontinued.) The Central Germany Area
Exchange had been deactivated and exchanges within its area were redistributed
between the two other area exchanges in Germany. Area exchanges were
redesignated as exchange regions in 1972, and in 1978, were once again
called area exchanges.
On 8 October 1974, EES was redesignated AAFES-Europe.
Directory of Key Personnel, European Exchange System, September 1974 (AHEC)
When overseas exchange regions were redesignated as area exchanges
on 26 January 1978, there were 12 in Europe: Greece, Italy, Spain,
Turkey, United Kingdom, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Berlin, Kaiserslautern,
Nuernberg, Spangdahlem, and Stuttgart Area Exchanges. In 1978, the
Berlin Area Exchange was discontinued, and the Heidelberg Area Exchange
was discontinued in 1980. In 1985, the Frankfurt and Spangdahlem Area
Exchanges merged into a new organization, the Tri-Border Area Exchange.
From 1985 to early 1991, there were nine area exchanges in AAFES-Europe:
Tri-Border, Kaiserslautern, Nuernberg, Stuttgart, Greece, Italy, Spain,
Turkey and U.K. Area Exchanges. On 29 January 1991, the Greece Area
Exchange was deactivated and its exchanges realigned under the Tri-Border
Area Exchange. On 12 March 1991, area exchanges were redesignated
sales districts. The Spain and U.K. Area Exchanges merged into the
European Basin Sales District. In September 1992, the Nuernberg Sales
District was deactivated, followed by these additional deactivations:
Italy Sales District, January 1993; Kaiserslautern Sales District,
January 1993; Tri-Border Sales District, January 1993; and the European
Basin, June 1993.
For one year, from 29 January 1991 to 28 January 1992, the Saudi Arabia
Area Exchange/Sales District operated in Dhahran in support of U.S.
operations in DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.
Some 22 years after moving to Munich, AAFES-Europe headquarters moved
back to the Nuernberg area. The first elements started moving on 4
November 1991, to Pinder Barracks, Zirndorf. On 18 February 1992,
the colors were cased at McGraw Kaserne, and AAFES-Europe headquarters
was declared operational at its new location in Zirndorf.
European Exchange System. The first warehouses solely
for PX goods on the European continent were established under terms
of an agreement signed by AES and the Quartermaster Corps on 1 September
1944. As a result, 21 PX depots and bulk storage warehouses were located
on the continent. After the war, facilities were consolidated. When
the EUCOM Exchange System replaced AES in Europe on 26 June 1947,
the EUCOM Exchange Depot System was established to exercise centralized
control of the depots and distribution points in the command.
Distribution facilities at that time included depots at Bremerhaven,
Schierstein, Ansbach, and Aschaffenburg. Ansbach had been activated
on 25 May 1947, to replace the remaining depots at Schierstein and
Aschaffenburg in Germany, and at Linz in Austria. Schierstein closed
25 November 1947. Aschaffenburg became primarily a collecting and
disposal point for surplus property, and it eventually closed on 31
March 1948, when its remaining stock and personnel were transferred
to the Ansbach Depot.
By 30 September 1947, other activities besides those related to the
depot were assigned to Ansbach. That included equipment and merchandise
repair shops, an automotive parts salesroom, and a central motor transport
service (motor pool). In addition, the EES headquarters staff concerned
with distribution moved to Ansbach by 1 December.
Gruenstadt Pastry Bakery, 1957
Gruenstadt Ice Cream Plant, 1957
Gruenstadt Hamburger Plant, 1957
In 1953, EES assumed responsibility from the Army Corps
of Engineers for the depot at Gruenstadt, Germany. Construction
of the depot began in 1952, and the first buildings completed
in 1953. The first sections to begin operations were the
area warehouse, area stock control, the equipment and
installation branch, watch and radio repair plants, and
the organic vehicle repair section. In early 1993, AAFES
closed all watch and merchandise repair plants. Gruenstadt
had become one of the largest, with 30 watch and clock
Over the next few years, Gruenstadt expanded. In February
1954, a refrigerated warehouse and a pastry bakery opened.
Two months later, a photo processing plant began operations.
A laundry and dry cleaning plant opened in February 1955.
The bakery closed in May 1959, and its responsibilities
taken over by the bakeries in Fuerth and Frankfurt. In
1982, a new bread and pastry bakery opened, replacing
the Fuerth and Frankfurt bakeries. The photo processing
plant closed in 1971, when the responsibilities were contracted
out to commercial companies. Area stock control was replaced
by a mechanized operation in 1972. And the laundry and
dry cleaning plant closed in 1975, with commercial contractors
taking over its responsibilities.
In October 1956, the all-Europe ice cream plant opened,
replacing the six smaller plants operated by EES (five
in Germany and a contractor-operated one in Paris, France)
and the two operated by the Army Quartermaster Corps in
Germany and Italy. The first steak was cut in the meat
plant in February 1957.
The distribution mission of Gruenstadt was to order, receive,
warehouse, control, account for, and deliver fresh foods,
frozen merchandise, beverages, and dairy products to Europe-wide
facilities. "The most difficult and specialized missions
are the Europe-wide daily delivery of the Gruenstadt Depot-produced
fresh bakery items and the delivery of perishable fresh
milk and poultry products." The depot also supported the
European Distribution Area at Giessen with long distance
deliveries of AAFES merchandise.
The European Industrial Activites at Gruenstadt encompasses
manufacturing responsibilities for the bakery and ice
cream and meat plants. In 1963, EES took over responsibility
for the depot at Giessen. In 1979, the Gruenstadt depot
assumed distribution responsibility for the beverage warehouse
in Kindsbach. By 25 July 1964, when EES and the Air Forces
Europe Exchange merged, EES had warehouses at Ansbach,
Gruenstadt, and Giessen, and a port support activity at
Bremerhaven. The Ansbach operation closed after the merger
of the two systems into the new EES.
Air Forces Europe Exchange. The Air Forces
Europe Exchange (AFEX) was established on 1 October 1951,
with two regions: one in Casablanca. North Africa, and
one in Bordeaux, France. When it became fully operational
in December 1951, it took over responsibility for the
exchanges and warehouses in French Morocco and France
from EES. That included the warehouses in Nouasseur, French
Morocco, and Chateauroux, France. The warehouse in Morocco
closed in 1963, and the one in France closed in 1967.
The warehouse in Tripoli, Libya, became an AFEX responsibility
on 1 January 1953, when the independent exchange system
there merged with AFEX. It closed in 1969. On 1 April
1953, when the independent U.K. Exchange System merged
with AFEX, the warehouse at RAF Sealand came under AFEX.
(It moved to RAF Feltwell on 30 October 1975.)
Warehouses in Madrid, Spain, and Livorno, Italy, opened in 1954 when AFEX expanded its responsibilities into those two countries. AFEX headquarters moved from London to Mainz-Kastel, Germany, in January 1955. It assumed responsibility for the warehouses from EES in September 1957 when AFEX assumed responsibility for all exchange activities in areas under Air Force jurisdiction, and EES for those in areas under Army control. When the exchange in Athens, Greece, joined AFEX on 23 January 1958, the warehouse operation also came under AFEX.
Merger of EES and AFEX. After the merger of EES and AFEX into the new EES, warehouse operations were at Gruenstadt, Giessen, Bremerhaven, Mainz-Kastel, Chateauroux, and the six outlying regions in Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Libya, and the United Kingdom. The AFEX warehouse at LaRochelle, France, closed after the merger. The EES operation at Ansbach also closed after the merger, with Giessen expanded to absorb its responsibilities.
Merger with AAFES. EES became part of AAFES on 27 January 1972. The distribution activities at Giessen and Gruenstadt were named the Giessen Support Element and the Gruenstadt Support Element. Giessen was responsible for the Giessen depot and subdepots at Mainz-Kastel and Bremerhaven. They were redesignated in September 1978 to Giessen and Gruenstadt Depots.
In May 1981,
Giessen was redesignated European Distribution Group when it picked
up supervisory responsibility for the distribution activities in the
outlying areas - U.K., Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Those facilities
were previously under the area exchanges. In 1986, the European Distribution
Group was redesignated the European Logistics Group, and in August
1987, the European Distribution Center. In 1991, it became the European
The distribution centers under Giessen were organizationally part
of AAFES-Europe until 26 January 1988, when management of the European
Distribution Center and its operational activities transferred to
the AAFES Distribution Region. In June 1989, the European Distribution
Area was realigned under AAFES distribution, with distribution centers
in Giessen, U.K., Spain, Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Greece closed
1 July 1991; Spain closed 1 August 1991; and Italy closed 1 August
1992. The Turkey distribution center became a transportation center
in October 1992, then closed completely in July 1994.
The Gruenstadt Depot was redesignated the European Industrial Activities
in 1986, and realigned under the European Logistics Group at Giessen.
In September 1987, it was realigned under AAFES-Europe.
The Saudi Arabia Distribution Center opened in Dhahran 19 September
1990; in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. It closed 15 July
The Rotterdam Transportation Center in Amsterdam was realigned under
AAFES Distribution from the European Distribution Area in 1991. Its
purpose was the same as its sister transportation centers in the United
States. The Rotterdam facility, however, primarily handled merchandise
inbound for stores throughout Europe. .
Gruenstadt EES Depot Headquarters, late 1950s (Exchange Associate)
Gruenstadt EES Depot, circa 1960 (Exchange Associate)
Gruenstadt AAFES Depot, circa 1990 (Library of Congress)
Gruenstadt AAFES Depot, circa 1990 (Library of Congress)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 3, 1980)
In December 1980, AAFES-Europe began a $12.9 million construction project at the Gruenstadt AAFES Depot to renovate and construct a consolidated baking facility.
The massive constuction project entails renovating and expanding a 127,000 square foot warehouse into an automated bakery plant. Higher quality breads, buns, rolls and other bakery products should be on the shelves of exchange outlets starting next fall when the new facility is completed,
Exchange officials state that, with the new machinery and the bigger facility, they will be able to produce bakery products made just like in the States.
Once installed, the high-speed oven will churn out about 12,000 loaves of bread an hour. In addition, the bakery will produce about 120 other bakery items - including cakes and pasteries.
About 140 employees will work at the new facility.
Smaller AAFES bakeries currently in operation in Kaiserslautern, Frankfurt and Fuerth will be shut down and some of their employees will be moved to the new facility. The consolidation effort will begin next October.
Mobile PX / Snack Bars
A mobile PX visits an 899th AAA AW Bn bivouac area in the early 1950s
A mobile PX visits troops of the 979th FA Battalion, c. 1953
A mobile snack bar in the field, c. 1953
A mobile snack bar in the field with 19th Armor Gp, early 1950s
Pamphlet - For The EUCOM Motorist
the EUCOM Motorist, published by the European Exchange Service.)
Webmaster Note: Publication was probably published after September
1949 (Auto Union GmbH mentioned in pamphlet was not established in
Ingolstadt until 3 September 1949) but before June 1951 when Wetzlar
Military Post (still mentioned in the pamphlet) was merged with Frankfurt
Additional pages listing local national service stations have been omitted in this posting but are available.
2. Northern Germany
3. Southern Germany
Stations on Autobahns and Main Feeder Roads
CBS POL Station #4, Karlsruhe Autobahn, 1946
Giessen Autobahn Gas Station, 1947
Ordnance Emergency Service Stations - Germany
by the Office of the Theater Chief of Ordnance, EUCOM)
POL Stations, 1947
Emergency Service Stations
These stations render assistance to personnel driving
CBS . . . Continental Base Section
(Source: STUTTGART POST NEWS, Nov 29, 1947)
EUCOM Hq. has announced that 17 US Ordnance emergency service stations are operating on a 24-hour basis as key points on the autobahn and on main roads throughout EUCOM.
All of the emergency stations are equipped to service vehicles with both gas and oil, and to give emergency repair service; POL coupon books are the purchasing medium for gas and oil at all 17 stations.
EUCOM officials state that by establishing the chain of stations on a 24-hour basis, it has been possible to eliminate the emergency highway patrol(1), this releasing personnel and equipment for elsewhere. In place of the patrol, all regular traffic personnel, and Constabulary and MP road patrols, have been instructed to stop and aid stalled motorists, and, in necessary cases, to notify the nearest emergency Ordnance station in the area if any motorists needs special assistance.
The stations operate independently of regular QM stations, whose hours and types of services continue as in the past.
The chain of Ordnance stations 24-hour basis are located as follows:
Webmaster Note: Publication was probably published in the late
This image is relatively large - 380
This image is relatively large - 230 KB
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Aug 23, 1974)
Location of EES Autobahn Service Stations in 1974
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, June 24, 1985)
Location of AAFES Autobahn Service Stations in 1985
Service Stations/Snack Bars
1. Aerial & ground photos of EES / AAFES service stations and snack bars along the Autobahn
Requester: Webmaster Subject: Looking for period photos of the US Army service (gas) stations & snack bars that were operated along the German autobahns in the 1945 - 1990s time frame. Contact:webmaster 2. Personal recollections of employees at the EES / AAFES service stations and snack bars along the Autobahn
Requester: Webmaster Subject: Would like to hear from anyone who managed or worked at any of the US Army service (gas) stations & snack bars that were operated along the German autobahns in the 1945 - 1990s time frame. Any information on when these stations were originally established and at what point each of them was closed would also be appreciated. Contact:webmaster
Map locating the EES Autobahn Snack Bars in southern Germany, early 1950s
(Source: The Albatross, 14 August 1946; EATS command newspaper)
AUTOBAHN SERVICE ...
American Red Cross Doughnut Dug-Outs located at autobahn highways near Darmstadt, Rosenheim, Goeppingen, Pforzheim, Nuernberg and Fritzlar, will be operated by the Army Exchange Service, according to an announcement by Theater Special Services. At present only coffee, doughnuts, and coca-cola will be sold. Plans are being made, however, to provide soda fountains for most of these installations.
ARC TO CONTINUE ...
American Red Cross clubs will continue in full operation through June, 1947, it has been announced by Red Cross Headquarters in Wiesbaden and the Theater Special Services. Clubs will be operated by ARC under an agreement with Theater Special Services. The Army Exchange System will take over the management of all snack bars maitianed within the clubs. Food distributed within ARC installations will be sold by the AES. There are at present 129 Red Cross clubs,m ranging from huge city installations to small village "doughnut stops," spread throughout the Occupied Territory, in Bremerhaven, Berlin and Vienna.
Java Junction Autobahn Snack Bar, 1947 (TIME Inc.)
The Drackensteiner Hang Autobahn Restaurant pre-WWII. After the end of the war the building
was requisitioned by the US Army, was expanded and would become the Java Junction
Bar, one of several Autobahn snack bars operated by the European Exchange System.
(Source: EES Motorist's Directory, 1951)
EES Motorist's Directory, 1951
AUTOBAHN SNACK BARS
Click on thumbnail for hi res image
Looking for additional photos of the Autobahn Snack Bars and Gas Stations
mi north of Hannover (British Zone); 1950s
(Bad Hersfeld) at
Kirchheim Turnoff, near Niederaula; 1950s
Grünberg Turnoff, near Reiskirchen; 1950s; closed on Oct 15, 1952
1950s; prob known as Service Station No. 7 in late 1940s; new German Autobahn Restaurant constructed (Raststätte Taunusblick) in its place
near Lorsch Turnoff?; late 1940s; (included PX Store No. 24
Wiesensteig (Hohenstadt Radio site)
near Augsburg, 1940s; 1950s
late 1940s; 1950s
Chiemsee Leave Center
Alpine Way Snack Bar (Chiemsee)
Believe this to show the snack bar on the Autobahn Salzburg, 1953 (Webmaster's collection) (Can anyone confirm this and/or provide details?)
Augsburg Autobahn Service Station
Location of the former EES autobahn service station near Augsburg
Believe this to show the autobahn service station near Augsburg, 1953 (Webmaster's collection) (Can anyone provide details or additional photo?)
1960 photo of the A8 autobahn near the US Forces autobahn service station
located on the left, behind the photographer (Photo: Paul Engert)
Construction vehicles of the 79th Engineer Bn out of Neu Ulm make a rest stop
at the Augsburg autobahn station in the late 1960s (Rod Strickland)
Blue Danube Snack Bar (Ingolstadt)
The EES Service Station at the Autobahn exit near Ingolstadt, 1950s (Webmaster's collection)
The QM Filling Station at the Autobahn exit near Ingolstadt (Webmaster's collection)
Army wife stands in front of the Blue Danube Snack Bar, 1948
Signs on the road for Java Junction Snack Bar, 1950
Sign on the road for Java Junction Snack Bar, around 1947
(Source: Story told by Dorit Gelnovatch, nee: Ortmann; wife of Walt Gelnovatch, 102nd Sig Bn)
In the 1950’s Java Junction was a rest stop on the A8 autobahn near Hohenstadt for American service members and their families. I worked there for a number of years, courtesy of my father who at that time was the district EES supervisor working out of the Cooke Barracks, Goeppingen, my home town.
The site was operated by the EES and had all the trappings of a typical American turnpike rest stop. Hamburgers, hot dogs, juke box and even a small PX. I operated the PX. The site was open 24 hours a day.
I believe that it’s origins date back to about 1948 or 1949. The original manager was a military person but some time between then and the mid 50’s it had changed over to German personnel. There was no gasoline available at Java Junction but there was a Quartermaster gasoline station at the bottom of the hill at Muelhausen, perhaps 2 or 3 km distant.
The exact location of Java Junction was on the northbound spur of the Autobahn about 1 km north of the split of the north and south bound sections of the road. Shortly before I went to work at Java Junction the business had dropped effectively in half when a tunnel and bridge were opened on the Wiesensteig side diverting South bound traffic there leaving the autobahn in front of Java Junction going one way and accessible only to North bound traffic. Approximately in 1960 Java Junction ( or at least the rest stop function) was moved down the hill to north of the split to Muelhausen to service both directions.
Dorit at Java Junction
Dorit Ortmann and Walt Gelnovatch, 1959
My first acquaintance with Java Junction was in the early 1950s when my father worked there and would bring my siblings and I there for Christmas parties. At the time a Sgt. Kent was the manager and I remember getting car sick in his jeep as he brought us to the Christmas party.
Approximately 15-20 people worked at Java Junction in three shifts. Most of the girls were young and hailed from the larger towns in the area. There were two rosy cheeked farm girls also who lived at home. We all rented rooms from farmers in Ober Drackenstein and walked the approximate 2 km to work each day. On occasion we would get rides from the soldiers at Hohenstadt Radio Station when they made grocery runs to Java Junction (specially in the morning) in the stations military vehicles. The worst times were in the winter when the snow was deep and the temperature was very low. The area was approximately 800 meters in altitude with lots of fog and inclement weather.
I started as a cashier and worked my way up to running the PX which was quite well stocked including pipes, perfume, film and local mementos. The juke box was constantly playing the hit tunes of the time. As a method of improving my English I incessantly read Hit Parade Magazine which I couldn’t wait to hit our news stand. I would read the lyrics and then try to follow as the juke box played.
As I mentioned we all rented rooms from farmers. My particular flat was heated by a coal stove (each room) requiring my daily indulgence to stay reasonably warm. It was typical for my windows to be coated with solid ice on the inside in the winter time. On many mornings I dressed under the feather comforter before getting up. My landlord and his family were all self sufficient (as were the other farmers in Ober Drackenstein) and baked their own bread, slaughtered their own livestock and grew their own vegetables and hay. He also has a license to make schnapps. At harvest time when the farmers were under pressure to get the harvest in we all chipped in to help them bring in the harvest during our off days. At Java Junction we typically worked 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week. On one tragic occasion a farm family in town had two members killed by lightning because they continued to work in the fields during a thunder storm.
Inspections were performed periodically and often, usually by German civilians working for the EES with white gloves. Many cameras were left behind by visitors, many of them Leicas. The approved procedure was to lock them in the safe for a year and then pass them up the supervisory chain for further action. I always wondered where they ended up but maybe deep down I knew.
One of the more unnerving times to be working at Java Junction was when they were blasting rock at the quarry which was about one half a kilometer behind the site along the dirt road to Ober Drackenstein. The blasts shook the whole building and rattled the nerves of the military customers. I heard rumors that the crazy dynamiters at the quarry blew up my favorite cat.
The US Army Highway Patrol were frequent visitors and drank coffee and ate donuts and generally terrorized the soldiers on the road. Convoy’s were particularly hectic in that they usually arrived by surprise and overfilled the rest stop. We soon figured out that most of the soldiers ordered hamburgers so we just fired up the grill and filled it with patties. We had a number of celebrities stop at Java Junction. One in particular was Louis Armstrong who was entertaining the troops. During his visit his host put a guard at the only bathroom and wouldn’t let anyone else in. I still haven’t figured that one out.
We had a very good relationship with the soldiers at Hohenstadt Radio Station (102d Signal Bn). Aside from getting rides to work many of the girls had boyfriends there. The soldiers at the station received four Broadway quality movies a week and showed them at night. They would typically come down to Ober Drackenstein and pick up all off duty girls to watch the movies who wished to attend. I met my future husband Walt there.
We of course returned the favor by being the so called gatekeepers for the radio station and notified them when a surprise inspection visit was on it’s way. The way this courtesy worked was as follows. When asked by the soldiers at the station we would watch for members of the prospective inspection team to show up at Java Junction and then call up to the station and inform them that trouble was on the way. This was fairly easy because of the easily identifiable battalion crests or the stenciled 102 on the vehicle bumpers. They even on occasion asked for directions to the station making it real easy to identify them. The inspectors were usually tired, needed a coffee and a bio break so they were guaranteed to stop at Java Junction. Additionally the quarry road behind Java Junction was an unauthorized exit off the autobahn which cut many kilometers from the trip.
Some of the few names I can remember was a friend Erika Dannler who married a soldier. I last saw her in the 1960s in Queens, NY. Another was one of the farm girls, Maja. Yet another was named Oswita and finally there was Fräulein Kemm who was older than most of us.
After we married, Walt and I came back to the US and I continued working and supporting him till he completed graduate school. We then raised a family and finally retired. During my work career I founded a sports conferencing business which I closed down in 2003. My father retired from the EES in the 1960s and died shortly thereafter.
Walt and I visited Hohenstadt Radio Station and Java Junction in Oct. 2004. A short narration of our visit is given elsewhere on this site (102d Signal Bn/Hohenstadt). The Java Junction building is completely and physically gone. My husband has told me that Java Junction was used as a housing for soldiers working at the Hohenstadt Radio Station site after his unit his unit (102d Signal Bn,) left in 1967. I did manage to find and speak to some folks from Ober Drackenstein who remembered me. It’s been over half a century since those days but they are still a pleasant memory.
1. Java Junction, 1955 (1)
2. Former Java Junction, 1966
(1) (Source: Email from Walt Gelnovatch)
I am sending you two photos of Java Junction. One photo is from 1955 when it was an EES rest stop on the autobahn for GIs (also it was about 2 miles from my station at Hohenstadt) and the second photo is from 1966 when it was a barracks for the 68th Signal Bn. who then administered Hohenstadt. At that point in time the 102d Signal Bn. decommissioned the USAREUR Radio Telephone network for a new system and left Hohenstadt. When we (102d) occupied the site we actually lived at the site. The 68th Sig. Bn. had many more folks (we had 7) to man the function (6 per shift) at the site and therefore had to live elsewhere. By that time the EES had abandoned the site (Java Junction) and it was up for grabs so it was chosen as the site for the 68th Sig. Bn. barracks.
Interesting factoid, from 1956 to 1959 my wife ran the PX at Java Junction, courtesy of her father who was the district supervisor for EES. Her maiden name was Dorit Ortmann and her dad was Erwin Ortmann.
Walt Gelnovatch Hohenstadt Radio Station, 102nd Sig Bn
Giessen Autobahn Service Station
View of the Dine-A-Mite Snack Bar and Autobahn Service Station and from a passing vehicle
Parking for the Autobahn Snack Bar near Giessen, 1952 (Webmaster's collection)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Oct 12, 1952)
The Dine-a-Mite gas station and snack bar located on the autobahn near Giessen closed permanently on Oct 15, 1952.
Motorists traveling on the Frankfurt-Kassel autobahn were still able to obtain gas at the EES autobahn station near Frankfurt (Zephyr Diner) or at the
station near Kirchheim (Tiny Tim's). These two refueling points were 40 miles apart
Kassel Autobahn Service Station
Kassel Service Station, early 1970s (Joe Coughlin)
Kassel Autobahn Snack Bar, early 1970s (Joe Coughlin)
(Source: Email from Joseph Coughlin, 322nd Civil Engineering Squadron, Rhein Main AB, early 1970s)
I was team leader for emergency diesel generator maintenance out of the 322nd CES at Rhein Main AB.
We use to stop at the Kassel snack bar, for gas, etc., on our way to a USAF site by Neuenwalde called Hohes Moor. We also used to stop at the Bremerhaven AAFES for gas.
Time frame was 1970-1975.
My team also serviced Comm sites at Kalteneggolsfeld, Grafenwoehr, Brandhof, Giebelstadt and Schwanberg. These sites were microwave or TACAN sites and are probably all closed, now.
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 27, 1972)
A brief announcement in the S&S reported that there was a Holiday Inn located adjacent to the EES gas station near the autobahn east exit at Kassel. They were offering reduced rates for US Forces travelers.
Anybody have photos or information?
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, August 29, 1972)
In a letter to the editor of S&S, a T/Sgt out of Ramstein AB wrote a commentary on the pending closure (on or around Sept 1, 1972) of the EES Snack Bar on the Kassel autobahn.
A spokesperson of EES Headquarters in Munich responded that the closing was necessitated by the closure of the snack bar at Rothwesten earlier in 1972 (Webmaster note: probably coinciding with the closure of the Field Station at Rothwesten) which had supported the autobahn snack bar. The autobahn snack bar was not equipped with food preparation equipment and food had to be transported some 50 miles from the nearest EES food facility (Bad Hersfeld).
In addition, there were plans in place (in 1972) to relocate the EES Kassel service station some 10 miles south of its current location due to the planned construction of a cloverleaf by the German government.
The spokesperson also commented on sales statistics indicating that patronage of the snack bar had descreased in the recent past as a result of a gradual phase-down of the Bremerhaven post over the past several years.
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 11, 1977)
AAFES-Europe announced that the Kassel Autobahn Filling Station, closed due to extensive damage caused by a traffic accident in December 1976, would not reopen. The director of the Services Division at AAFES-Eur (responsible for the operation of filling stations) reported that the costs to repair the facility did not warrant the reopeneing of the station.
In addition, the AAFES station had seen minimal patronage in the recent past and there were 24-hour stations on both sides of the autobahn just south of the station that accepted AAFES coupons.
Kirchheim Autobahn Service Station (Bad Hersfeld)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, March 17, 1961)
The Kirchheim QM Service Station, located on the Frankfurt-Kassel autobahn near the Bad Hersfeld turnoff, will close on April 15 1961.
The Frankfurt and Kassel QM autobahn service stations will continue to operate 24 hours daily.
Leipheim AAFES Service Station
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 21 & March 28, 1978)
The Leipheim Service Station opened on Feb 1, 1978 on the Stuttgart-Munich autobahn near the Leipheim exit.
The new AAFES station was built by the German government at a cost of $1.2 million as a replacement for two other autobahn stations that will be closed by the US military. The two older stations are the Augsburg and Gruibingen service stations. The Augsburg autobahn service station will close on Jan 24 and returned to the Germans; the Gruibingen station will close on Feb 15.
Seckenheim Service Station
"Oasis" Service Station on the A656 at Seckenheim, circa 1951 (Walter Elkins)
Seckenheim Service Station, circa 1965 (Exchange Associate)
Pforzheim Autobahn EES Service Station, 1963 (Walter Elkins)
Pforzheim Autobahn Snack Bar, 1951 (Walter Elkins)
Pforzheim Autobahn Snack Bar, 1950 (Walter Elkins)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Feb 16, 1949)
A letter to the editor of the S&S expresssed the writer's appreciation for Corporal William who managed the Stop Over Snack Bar in Pforzheim in 1949. The satisfied customer continued with the statement that "this establishment is immacualte, the service is excellent, and there is a wider and better choice of food there than in many clubs and hotels throughout the zone."
Sunset Inn Snack Bar (Darmstadt)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, 1947)
The 62nd Highway Patrol Station on the Autobahn near Darmstadt with the
Sunset Inn Snack Bar in the background (Marvin Flinchum,
Det A, 62nd MP Co)
The Sunset Inn, 1949 (THE OCCUPATION CHRONICLE) (Can anyone provide information on the exact location?)
(Source: THE OCCUPATION CHRONICLE, May 6, 1949)
Unprepossessing externally, the Sunset Inn is, on the inside, something to write home about.
Soft lights, comfortable furnishings and music combined with what is probably the best service in Frankfurt Military Post make the Inn a good restaurant, not a snackbar; a place where you ought to count on spending an hour or two over any one of a variety of dishes, all good.
Open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, the Sunset Inn has outdoor service in warm weather. It is located on the Frankfurt-Darmstadt autobahn, just outside of Darmstadt.
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, November 15, 1952)
The Sunset Inn, a snack bar operated by EES on the Frankfurt - Karlsruhe autobahn near Darmstadt, will be deactivated on October 19, 1952.
It started in 1945 (winter) as an American Red Cross coffee bar (clubmobile) parked on the east side of the autobahn, at the Darmstadt turnoff. Staffed with three ARC employees, the clubmobile dispensed free coffee and donuts to American military personnel and civilians traveling along the autobahn.
Soon, ARC built a more permanent structure (wooden) a few hundred yards south of the turnoff, on a small hill that was set back at a safe distance form the autobahn. A big parking lot was established between the hill and the autobahn. Partitions, counters, chairs and tables were set up and German ladies were hired as waitresses. (These first two waitresses were still employed at the snack bar when it was finally shut down.)
In June 1946, the Army Exchange System (later to become the EES) took over and improved the facility and services - they put in soda fountains, stoves, and freezers, and added sandwiches and pastries to the menu.
In 1948, they were serving hot dinners and chili, hamburgers and malted milks, as well as selling magazines to the soldiers and dependents who stopped at the snack bar on their way to somewhere.
In the 1947-48 period, the snack bar was serving an average 8,000 cups of coffee, 700 bowls of chili, 3,000 hot plates, 5,000 hamburgers every month (not counting the pies, ice cream and other pastries).
A PX branch was added and a STARS & STRIPES newstand.
Tiny Tim's Snack Bar (Bad Hersfeld)
The EES Service Station & Snack Bar on the Autobahn near Bad Hersfeld, 1957 (Glynn Mathis)
A student carries her bag to the connecting bus to Fulda or Giessen (Glynn Mathis)
(Source: Email from Joseph Truett Mathis; photos by Glynn L. Mathis)
I came across your website on US Army service stations in Europe in the 1950’s, and it sure brought back memories.
My brother, Glynn L. Mathis (he was the shutterbug), had recently sent me some pictures of our lives when we were teenagers, living in Germany in 1957. Our Dad was a Protestant Chaplain, stationed in Kassel. We arrived there in June of 1957.
When summer was over, we started to Frankfurt American High called “5-day dorm students”. We were enrolled in school at Frankfurt American High School, and were there long enough to have our pictures taken for the yearbook (the 1958 Erinnerungen year book). So, some history of our having been there exists. At the time, I was 16 and Glynn was 17.
Our routine was to board the bus on Sunday afternoon, right after lunch, and ride to Frankfurt; spend the week living in the dorm and attending classes and on Friday, right after classes were out, we were on the bus, heading back to Kassel. Our bus always stopped at Tiny Tim’s. We almost always bought a hamburger and fries, and had a Coke, which came in a new format: a steel can, which was opened using a church key.
The primary reason for stopping at Tiny Tim’s was to pick up the students who lived in Giessen and Fulda. On the way home, we stopped there again, to let them off.
Attached are two photos that Glynn took at the station. Inside the station was an order window. I can still hear the woman inside turning around and shouting “ein hamburg und ein order French”.
You have to look closely at the front of the bus to read “Kassel” in the destination window. The girl carrying her bag is obviously returning home for the weekend, because she has her bag, and is walking in front of the bus and the bus is bound for Kassel, so it must be Friday. The cars in the photos definitely date the pictures. They were made in either September or October of 1957, because by November, our family, after only 4 and one-half months, left Germany, to return to the States.
Anyway, where was the Protestant chapel in Kassel? As I recall, it was across the street from a Hotel in Kassel which the Army had as transient quarters. This hotel we called the Glas Haus because it had so much glass all around. The exact address I do not know. Maybe my brother will remember. We left to ride the bus to Frankfurt every Sunday about 1 PM from this hotel. I think we fell into the habit of eating Sunday lunch at the hotel, then boarding the bus for the trip to Frankfurt.
I remember that there was a radio receiving room in this hotel. They had lots of antennas up on top of the building. They received broadcasts from AFN stations around Germany, and then rebroadcast them into the area surrounding Kassel. Sometimes the broadcasts originated in Berlin, and then other locations. I don't think AFN originated any broadcasts from Kassel.
My Dad drove our 1954 Chevrolet 4-door Belaire (white over turquoise) to work every day from our quarters to a post called Waldau. I was told that Waldau had been a Messerschmitt factory. I really don't know. I studied up on the German driving rules and passed the driving test. Later, one evening, I stayed out too late at night, with the car. I was visiting a German friend. My Dad sent out the MP's to find me. They did. Dad took my drivers license. OK, enough of that.
I do know where we lived. It was on "An Den Pfaffenbaumann Strasse," in Harleshausen, just off Harleshauser Strasse. Today, the Germans have renamed our street John F. Kennedy Strasse. We lived at number 18.
We all have stories about life back then. That was 1957. A world not seen or experienced by our state-side friends and relatives. So many things, and hard to relate to anyone here. And long ago now. Like they say: "you had to be there".
My Dad was RIF’ed (Reduction in Forces) and so we were sent back to the US, where Dad was let out of the Service. His rank when the RIF got him was Major. Later, in his reserve commission, he attained Colonel.
We sailed back from Europe from Genoa Italy. We set sail on Halloween night. It took us 10 days from Genoa to NYC. Our ship was the SS Independence. A luxury ship in its day. We stopped off at Maderia Island, after passing by the Rock of Gibraltar. I sometimes tell my friends I was born with a gold spoon in my mouth. They don't get it.
Thanks, and keep up the good work. I enjoyed the memories it brought back.
Zephyr Diner (Frankfurt)
A busy Zephyr Diner in 1950 (Heinrich Fischer, EES manager)
Click here to see more great photos of the Zephyr Diner in 1950, submitted by Frank Fischer, Heinrich Fischer's son.
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, February 21, 1950)
EES has added a roadside diner in Frankfurt.
The diner is a converted railway car and is located next to the autobahn gas station at the Frankfurt turnoff.
Looking for more stories . . . Zephyr Diner, the Blue Danube, the Sunset Inn ... and all the other EES rest stops along the German autobahns.
AAFES European Distribution Group
Courier (Giessen MILCOM newspaper), July 10, 1985)
25 years --
It was cake
Employees of AAFES European Distribution Group
crown in to get a piece of the giant birthday cake baked in celebration
of the agencys 25th year at the Giessen Depot.
In 1960, the first AAFES (then called European Exchange System --
EES) personnel arrived at the Depot: 62 employees to staff three of
the rooms in Building 4 and one warehouse. Its inventory the first
year was worth $730,000. Twenty-five years later, AAFES has some 1,200
employees at the Depot, uses 22 warehouses on 88 acres and maintains
an inventory of $75 million.
According to AAFES personnel, the Giessen operation -- the primary
supplier for Europe -- keeps the shelves full in more than 1,600 PXs
and BXs from Great Britain to Saudi Arabia and from Norway to Morocco.