The German city of Kaiserslautern and the region around it has long pinned its economic fortunes on the huge U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein.
But on this day it’s eerily quiet in the fog that blankets this corner of the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The weather has put the brakes on air traffic at the United States’ biggest and busiest foreign airbase, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from Kaiserslautern. In good weather, more than 40 planes a day would land and take off from Ramstein’s two runways, transporting troops and materiel all over the world.
About 60,000 American citizens make up the Kaiserslautern Military Community, and more than half of them are military personnel. Nowhere else in Europe are there as many Americans living in one place as in so-called K-Town.