Chronological synthesis of the history of the Airbase Kleine Brogel- 10th Wing.

Second World War
Forming the 10th Wing
Thunderjet period
Thunderstreak period
F-104G Starfighter period
F-16 Fighting Falcon period

F-104G Starfighter period.


After the purchase of the F-104 Starfighter, a number of experienced pilots with more than 2000 flight hours are selected to train for this new aircraft.
From 1962 on, they follow the training within the German Luftwaffe together with Italian and Dutch colleagues. First in Norvenich and as of 1964 in Jever.
Two Belgian pilots serve as instructors in this unit.


After the first Starfighters are delivered to Beauvechain, 349 and 350 Squadron are the first to complete the conversion, partly in Beauvechain, partly in Jever

April 6, 1964:
The first F-104G Starfighter is delivered to the 10th JB Wing.

The FX-41 is flown from Gosselies to Kleine-Brogel by Capt Rongé. After baptizing the airplane by the ’padre’ of the wing the jet is handed over to the 10th Wing detachment at Beauvechain Airbase, which is, together with Jever, responsible for the the initial conversion of the first pilots of the 10th JB Wing to the F-104G.
July 21, 1964:
The conversion detachment returns from Beauvechain to Kleine-Brogel.
January 1, 1965:
The 23th Sqn starts its conversion to F-104G and is put on ‘Training Status’.
January 4, 1965:
The maintenance flight of the 23th Sqn transfers to the Maintenance Squadron completing the centralized maintenance within the 10th Wing.
June 22, 1965:

The first TACEVAL (Tactical Evaluation) by NATO since the conversion to F-104G is conducted. This evaluation checks the performance of both squadrons during simulated operational tasking. The 10th JB Wing obtains the highest possible score, 'Rate One'.
August 9, 1965:
A mixed detachment of 23rd  and 31st deploys to Corsica for the first time with the Starfighter.
August 27, 1965:
Col. Av. Wouters assumes command of the 10th JB Wing.
The specialized sections ‘Intelligence and Mission Planning’ and ‘Radar Prediction’ are established with Maj. L. Reeckmans as their first chief.
January 11, 1966:
Two DC-3 ‘NASSAR’ aircraft operate within the 10th JB Wing. These transport planes are fitted with a long nosecone containing the radar antenna and the avionics of the NASSAR radar system of the F-104G Starfighter. These remarkable DC-3s are used for the radar training of the F-104 pilots.
June 10, 1966:
For the first time the 10th JB Wing participates in the Tactical Weapons Meet with the F-104G. The Flying Ops Group commander Lt. Col. Vansieleghem acts as ‘Team Captain 2 ATAF’ (2nd Allied Tactical Air Force). 2 ATAF obtains the ‘Broadhurst Trophy’ for the first time during this competition.
June 6 - October 21, 1966:
Due to works at the main runway of Kleine-Brogel, a 10th Wing detachment operates out of Beauvechain.
September 30, 1966:
The Starfighter constructor Lockheed, grants the ‘Flight Safety Award 1965’ to the 10th JB Wing, more specific to the 23th Sqn.
December 13, 1966:
After several exercises during the year the Wing is put through a TACEVAL and again the 10th JB Wing obtains a ‘Rate One’, the highest possible score.
February 6, 1967:
Within the Maintenance Group a fifth squadron is established: the Line and Armament Squadron works functionally independent but is administrated by the Supply Squadron. On July 1st, 1971 only, the squadron is officially recognized by the Air Force Staff.
July 7, 1967:
The first camouflaged F-104G FX-03 appears. Up to then the Belgian Starfighters were in metal color. Only the upper side of the wings were painted white to reflect sunlight. During the next scheduled IRAN (Inspection and Repair as Necessary) maintenance, taking place every eight hundred flying hours, the Starfighters are painted in the so called ‘Vietnam camouflage’ colors (Two tone green and tan topside and off white on the underside). The national insignia and registration numbers on the fuselage and vertical tail are becoming smaller.
Also during the IRAN, the  F-104’s are swapped between 10th and 1st Wing to spread the cumulative strain on the airframes proportionally over the entire fleet. The airframes in the 10th JB Wing operating mostly low level are more vulnerable to early metal fatigue.

The ‘Flight Safety Award 1967 is again awarded to the 10th JB Wing after about 10.000 flight hours and 6.300 missions.
December 18, 1967:
The first two-seat Starfighter FC-06 is delivered.
June 6-22, 1968:
Lieutenant Depypere obtains the Gunnery Trophy during the seventh ‘Tactical Weapons Meet’ at Jever (Germany).
November 18, 1968:
Lt. Col. Cloeckaert assumes command of the 10th JB Wing.
December, 1968:
The ‘TF-Flight’ is established. Senior Captain Deroo is the commanding officer while Boone, Tamborijn en Vanderkrieken are the instructors. As of now, this flight will take care of all conversions to F-104G in the Wing and is also responsible for the flight simulator.
January 1, 1969:
The 10th JB Wing is tasked dual role: strike (nuclear) and attack (conventional).
May 4, 1969:
The city of Maaseik accepts the sponsorship of the Defense Group (Gr VB).
June 15-19 , 1970:
The yearly TACEVAL results in another ‘Rate One’.
July 1, 1971:
All maintenance administration is centralized in the Maintenance Group. A ‘Maintenance Service Squadron’ is established, the Line and Armament Squadron is made official and the Air Services Squadron is dissolved.
During 1971:
The doctrine of the sixties, dispersing the resources geographically, is abandoned. Gradually all installations and services are moved back from Helchteren Barracks to Kleine-Brogel. This move will take several years.
June 27, 1972:
During exercise ‘Sand Martin/Sky Blue’, eighty nine sorties are flown on one single day, a record for the Wing.
December 6, 1972:
Col. Vansieleghem assumes command of the 10th JB Wing.
December 31, 1972:
The year ends with another victory: ADC Neyens of the 23th Sqn wins the Inter Squadron Competition ‘Crossbow’. This competition also awards the squadron of the 10th JB Wing with the highest gunnery score during the year. This fuels the already existing competition spirit between the ‘Devils’
(23rd Sqn) and the ‘Tigers’ (31st Sqn) even more.
October 24, 1973:

His Majesty King Boudewijn visits the 10th JB Wing.

The lessons learned from the ‘Six day war’ in the Middle East are applied at Kleine-Brogel. The most important lesson is to disperse the aircraft and protect them by parking them in concrete shelters called HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter) or ‘Hangarettes’, of which the construction starts in 1973.
May 24-June 7, 1975:
Repairs of the main runway forces the aircraft to operate out of Beauvechain and Bierset. In 1975 the HAS program is terminated.
The base starts the construction of a new mess complex and the NCO and enlisted accommodations.
November 18, 1975:
Col. Moriau assumes command of the 10th JB Wing.
May 3-14, 1976:
The 3rd Tactical Wing from Bierset deploys to Kleine-Brogel.
September 11, 1976:
The Wing deploys to Bierset during runway maintenance.
June 2-16, 1978:
The 10th JB Wing participates at the Tactical Air Meet (TAM) at Wildenrath (Germany). In 1978 the former Tactical Weapons Meet has merged with the Royal Flush Competition to become the Tactical Air Meet.
June 19-26, 1978:
The NATO Tiger Meet takes place in Kleine-Brogel. Following foreign delegations are present: Escadrille 1/12 from Cambrai (France), 21 Gruppo from Cameri (Italy), 53rd TFS of Bitburg (USAF in Germany), 439th  Sqn of Baden-Sollingen (RCAF in Germany), 79th TFS from Upper Heyford (USAF in GB), 230th Sqn (RAF) of Odiham (GB), 393rd Bombardment Squadron from Pease (US), 62nd Sqn 'Jaguares' out of Montijo (Portugal), 336th Sqn from Rygge (Norway), VP8 US Navy equipped with Orion P-3.

June 23rd an Air Show is held at Kleine-Brogel to commemorate the event. For this event a F-104G, the FX-52, is repainted in tiger stripes.
May 31, 1979:
Col. Willems assumes command of the 10th JB Wing.
June 22, 1979:
Four NATO squadrons are present at Kleine-Brogel for the ’23-Weekend’.The 23rd Squadrons of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Italy are the guests of the Belgian 23rd Squadron.
July 9-23, 1979:
The 1st Wing from Beauvechain deploys to Kleine-Brogel while their runway is being refurbished.
October 2-10, 1979:
The 10th JB Wing deploys to Beauvechain while its runway is being refurbished.
January 14-25, 1980:
A ‘Dissimilar Air Combat Training’ (DACT) exercise is held at Solenzara (Corsica). During this type of exercise air combat against other types of aircraft is practiced. Belgian Mirage V’s are taken on by four pilots of the 31st Sqn on F-104.
March 13, 1980:
The installation of the new GCA complex (Ground Controlled Approach) is started. The equipment becomes only fully operational in 1983 and is inaugurated on November 30th, 1984.
April 1, 1980:
Three Fouga CM-170R Magisters are assigned to the 10th Wing. For pilot training the Fouga has been replaced by Alpha-Jet in the Traning Wing at Brustem. The remaining aircraft are used solely to enable pilots in Staff functions to keep their flying skills up to level.
July 31, 1980:
During a night flight Lieutenant Drieskens searches for a small private airplane reported lost. Once intercepted he escorts the plane safely to Bierset.
August 3-21, 1981:
The 10th JB Wing deploys to Beauvechain while the runway is being refurbished.
November 30, 1981:
The first F-16A joins the 10th JB Wing. The FA-39 is flown in by Major Deheyn. He remains in the 10th JB Wing to organize the F-16 OCU (Operational Conversion Unit). The conversion program in the 10th JB Wing is totally different from the one in the 1st Wing due to the strike and ground attack role of the Wing, compared with the air defense role of the 1st Wing.
December 2, 1981:
Lt. Gen. Wils, commander of the Tactical Air Force, officially hands over the first F-16A is to Col. Willems.
December 7, 1981:
On December 31st at 24.00 hours the operational qualification of the 23rd Sqn on F-104 ends.
Only the 31st Sqn secures the ‘QRA Strike’ with F-104G.

The Staff of the 10th JB Wing moves from Helchteren Barracks to Kleine-Brogel.