Bob & Pat Holland's Trip Back to TRAB

During my recent trip to France in June 2011, I had the opportunity to visit and take a tour of Phalsbourg Air Base (PAB) and Toul-Rosieres Air Base (TRAB). I left PAB in early 1960 for TRAB and left TRAB in late 1961 to Shaw AFB SC.

PAB: The base is still being used by the French as an active helicopter base with some military training. PAB is in pretty good condition and I was able to recognize the main gate, service club, NCO club, dependent school, commissary, chapel, gym, theater and the old baseball field which has been overgrown with 4 feet of high grass. The buildings that were not being used by the French are pretty much run down and abandoned, i.e. school, commissary, theater, church etc. I was not able to find the snack bar where I spent a lot of time eating cheeseburgers, French fries and cokes. I was also able to visit the housing area in Phalsbourg. Residents have kept them in good condition, added garages, sunrooms, fireplaces, and lots of landscaping. I was able to go directly to my old house. The city of Phalsbourg is the same. The old town square is still intact. New homes have been built around the older part of the city, but the old town square is still the heart of the city. The old tank along the side of the highway going to the base is still there. It has seen better days.

TRAB: The base looks like it was used for bombing practice. Since the closure of the base several years ago, the French have decided to turn it into a solar plant. There are craters where they have removed trees and/or cut them down. Many of the buildings have been bulldozed to the foundation. Any remaining buildings will be demolished in the immediate future to make way for all the solar panels they will be using. Presently the solar company that "owns" the property restricts access, unless you know someone that can get you on. That being said, even if you got on the base, I doubt if you would be able to recognize anything except where something "used to be." The only building that might be left is the main gate. Basically there is nothing to see any more, which is sad because I have many fond memories of TRAB. I was able to visit Toulaire and like Phalsbourg, the houses were in good condition and well maintained. At Toulaire it seems that many of the residents border their homes with 4-5 foot bushes/shrubs. So, from the street you can only see the roof of the home. I was able to get an inside tour of my house and while I could recognize the floor plan, it was definitely different. They had connected a sunroom on the front and back of the house with lots of landscaping. If you walk in the back door, they added a fireplace to the left, put ceramic tile on the floor, and had some wood beams across the ceiling. I was not able to see the bedrooms. No one uses the hot water heating system in the floor, too expensive.

While it was fun to visit both bases and the housing areas and think about all the good times I had, I guess it will be the last time I will visit either place. They have been removed from my "bucket list." I am still in contact with many of my old classmates and have had the opportunity to make face-to-face contact with many of them. It is hard to believe that these friendships have lasted for over 50 years, even though we spent only a few years of our life together in France. From a young teenager to social security eligibility is a long time, where did the time go????

If anyone is planning a trip to either of the bases, please contact me and I will be glad to give you my "personal opinion/advice" about your plans. In order to get around and see everything, you will definitely have to rent a car for at least 2 days. I would suggest you take along at least one GPS and if you have two, take them both. I had to drive through Paris at rush hour and believe me, without my GPS, I would still be going around Paris. I would also suggest that you stay in Nancy as a base of operation for day trips. Nancy is between PAB and TRAB. Nancy is a beautiful, clean city with lots to see and with very few crowds, plus the hotels are about half the price of Paris. As a final note, outside of Paris, most French do not speak English well enough to understand you. So be prepared.

It was a great trip down memory lane!!!!!

Photos of Nancy:

Nancy train station

The Cathedrale. St Sebastians Church. Center portion restored and preparing to do the sides. Notice the difference

Stanislas Square with Hotel de Ville in background

Fountain of Amphitrite in Stanislas Square

Stanislas Statue

Fountain of Neptune in Stanislas Square

Close up of Founrtain of Neptune in Stanislas Square

Old clock in Park Zoo de la Pepiniere, next to Stanislas Square

Gazebo in Park Zoo de la Pepiniere

The Craffe Gate, old fortification for Nancy

Close up of Craffe Gate

La Porte de la Citadelle. Part of Nancy College behind Citadelle

Former residence of Duke of Lorraine. Palace Ducal

Photos of Phalsbourg:

Bob in front of his house in Phalsbourg #12

Phalsbourg #12

Sandy Shotwell's house(green) with 2 car garage added

Entry into Phalsbourg Housing area

Middle of Phalsbourg square

Cathedral in Phalsbourg square

Hotel de Ville, now Office of Tourism

Old gate into Phalsbourg

Phalsbourg Main Gate

Phalsbourg Dependent School, sad to see it in such condition

Phalsbourg gym

Phalsbourg theater, now condemned

Warehouses across street from school which housed the commissary. French use it to store supplies

The old tank with a little more rust on it

Photos of TRAB:

Bob's Toulaire house. #328. Sunroom with gardens

Roof of Bob's house. Notice height of shrubs

Map of Toulaire and pointing to Bob's house

Entry to Toulaire. You used to see houses and lawns when you entered. Now tall tree and shrubs

Bob's Toulaire house with sun room added to front

Bob's Toulaire house with sun room added to the back

Bob's Toulaire house with a driveway

The base theater. Went to a movie almost every weekend

Back of base chapel

General landscape shot of TRAB. Pretty sad

Base gym. Spent many hours there

TRAB Main Gate. Seems more fortified that when it was active

My wife and I at TRAB Main Gate.

Photo with Gilbert Savona, who is a retired French Warrant Officer, was stationed at TRAB, and now works at TRAB for the solar plant company. Gilbert has been very helpful in helping Americans get on TRAB.

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If you have old photos or programs or ANY other memorabilia of ANY kind
about dependent or any other activities at Toul-Rosieres AB during the early 60's, please let us know know!
We will work with you to tell you how to get them scanned and will post them here!

There are a number of FREE alternatives that are available in most communities,
and there are certain guidelines we prefer you to follow in the sizing, etc of the photos.