Car Bomb Kills 2 on U.S. Air
Base in West Germany
About 20 Others Are Wounded
Bonn Officials Suspect Noted Terrorist Group
The New York Times (front-page story on Aug. 9, 1985)
By John Tagliabue
Rhein-Main Air Base, West Germany, Aug. 8, 1985 - A
car bomb exploded today outside the headquarters building at
this United States military base, killing two Americans and wounding
about 20 people, both Americans and West Germans.
Kurt Rebmann, the West German Prosecutor, said the attack
bore "the handwriting of the Red Army Faction," a terrorist
group that appears to have succeeded the Baader-Meinhof Gang
of the 1970's. The incident at the air base, which is near Frankfurt,
was the first major attack on an American installation in West
Germany since the bombing of Ramstein Air Base in 1981, in which
18 people were wounded. It was the latest of a series of assaults
on military targets in Western Europe, apparently in response
to the deployment of United States medium-range missiles.
More People Watching Bases
West German policemen responsible for monitoring civilians
outside military installations said the number of civilians had
Staff Sgt. Michael Bowers, a base spokesman, said the dead
were Airman Frank H. Scarton, 19 years old, of Woodhaven, Mich.,
who was serving with the 437th Military Airlift Wing at Charleston
Air Force Base, S.C., and was on temporary duty here, and the
wife of an American serviceman.
The Pentagon identified the woman as Becky Jo Bristol of San
Antonio, the wife of Senior Airman John Bristol, who is with
the Medical Airlift Squadron at the base. Airman Scarton was
thought to have been killed immediately, the base spokesman said.
The woman died while being flown for treatment to the burn center
of the Landstuhl Army Hospital.
Fight Against Terrorism
The attack here came less than six weeks after a bomb blew
up in adjacent Frankfurt airport, killing one man and two children.
The police said the bombings did not seem related.
West Germany has been relatively successful in the battle
against terrorism, but there has been a flare-up this year that
has troubled the Government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Six bombs
have been found on United States and other Western military bases
in West Germany in 1985. They did not go off and caused no deaths
In a telegram to President Reagan, Mr. Kohl deplored the latest
attack and promised swift action "to cast light on the deed."
Set Off By Timer
Werner Loew of the West German criminal police said in Wiesbaden
that the explosive had been detonated by a timing device and
had evidently been smuggled onto the base not long before the
explosion, at 7:15 A.M., in a green 1978 Volkswagen Passat car
with a forged United States military license.
The size and content of the bomb have not yet been determined;
he said. Witnesses said it blew a hole four feet across and five
feet deep, and cast debris hundreds of yards.
Later in the day, the scene of the bombing, near the headquarters
building, was one of burned-out and twisted automobiles, some
lying on the side or upside down, and others with their trunks
or hoods blasted open and burned. Trees were stripped of their
leaves, windows broken and tiles torn off the roofs of nearby
Killing of G.I. Linked To
West German Blast
Frankfurt, Aug. 13, 1985 - The West German police said
today that they were investigating a possible link between a
car bomb attack at the United States Rhein-Main Air Base Thursday
in which two Americans were killed and the killing of a United
States soldier the night before.
A Western news agency today received the military identity
card of the slain soldier, Edward F. Pimental, and a letter taking
responsibility for the killing.
The letter was signed by the Red Army Faction guerrilla group
and the French extremist group Action Directe.
A spokesman said the police were investigating the possibility
that guerrillas used the identity card to gain access to the
base to plant the bomb.
The soldier was killed on Wednesday night after leaving a
Wiesbaden discotheque with an unidentified woman and a man.
Firebomb Found in Frankfurt
On an Empty U.S. Army Train
United Press International
Frankfurt, Aug. 12, 1985 - An incendiary device was
discovered early today aboard an empty United States Army troop
train and was removed before it could go off, the West German
A police spokesman said the device and cloths soaked in a
flammable liquid were found in two sleeping cars of a train that
carries soldiers and supplies to and from West Berlin.
The device did not go off because of a defect, the spokesman
An inspection showed the train's doors had been tampered with,
an Army spokesman said. The train was last used a week ago.
The police said members of the Red Army Faction, which took
responsibility for a car bombing last week at the Rhein-Main
Air Base that killed two people, were thought to have hideouts
near here and might be responsible for the device found on the