After nearly 60 years of having a presence in the West Texas desert, the German Air Force has deactivated its USA/Canada Command.
Tuesday's deactivation is the first step toward the Germans closing its command center at Fort Bliss by 2017.
The move is part of a German military reorganization. "We don't have a cold war anymore, and you have to find which barracks are expensive and here is quite expensive," said Sgt. Maj. Juergen Volmer, Public Affairs Officer for the Command.
The command dwindled from about 40 officers in previous years to about two dozen, and only seven remained before it was officially shuttered.
Some were transferred to New Mexico's Holloman Air Force Base, some 70 miles north of El Paso while others were sent to other bases around the U.S. where the German air force has presence. The Luftwaffe flight training center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, will expand its responsibilities.
The air command, established in 1966, was in charge of all the German Air Force's operations in the U.S. and Canada. Its duties were largely administrative.
The Air Defense Center, the other German unit in Fort Bliss, was set up in 1956, and since then more than 50,000 German soldiers have trained there.
Just 11 years after the end of WWII, German soldiers went to this Far West Texas post to learn to use the anti-air cannons of the era.