What does a weather vane have to do with the Berlin Airlift?

DPW finishes memorial at roundabout in Newman Village

Some people might have wondered what the Department of Public Works was constructing at the roundabout near Newman Village. It is the Berlin Airlift Aircrew Memorial, which was built for the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Airlift this year.

During the Berlin Airlift, the weather vane on top of the Berlin Airlift Aircrew Memorial on Clay Kaserne used to sit on a building in Crestview where the pilots of the Berlin Airlift were housed. The memorial will show the names of the 31 U.S. Air Force members who lost their lives providing Berlin with essential goods.

“This weather vane represents a piece of this post’s history,” said Col. Todd J. Fish, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. “As we move forward as a garrison, build and adapt to changing missions, we always want to remember those who came before us — especially, as in the case of the Berlin Airlift Aircrew Memorial — those who lost their lives in the service of our nation.”

When the Soviet Union blocked the Western part of divided Berlin from all supplies by cutting off land and water access in June 1948, the Western Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift. In order to feed the population of over 2 million people, more than 1,300 tons of food had to be transported via aircraft every day, according to Daniel F. Harrington, author of the book “Berlin on the Brink.” In addition, West Berlin needed coal and fuel. Coal alone accounted for about 2,000 tons a day, Harrington wrote. It was a great challenge the Allies faced.

The weather vane as an important testimony of these times, sits on a roof made of dark grey slate tiles. The base of the monument is made of clinker bricks and is located at the center of the roundabout. The roundabout itself represents a compass with steel letters indicating the four cardinal points based on white gravel.

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