The airfield has been constructed in the early 1950s as Landstuhl Air Base. It was built with the inclusion of a section of the Reichsautobahn, which was used by the German Luftwaffe as a landing site during the Second World War. North of the Air Base a headquarter area was built, which was named Ramstein. In 1957, both parts were merged into the Ramstein Landstuhl Air Base, later referred to as the Ramstein Air Base only.
From the beginning to the early 1990s and with one interruption, the field was home of a combat unit which had different names: 86 Fighter-Bomber Wing (FBW), 86 Fighter Interceptor Wing (FIW), 86 Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW). Ramstein was also temporarily base for the 26 Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (26 TRW).
In the course of a reorganization in the early 1990s, the 86 TFW has been converted into a transport wing, the 86 Airlift Wing. This wing still stationed in Ramstein today.
Through the years, the air base was in the news several times, for example in 1981 with a bomb attack and in 1988 with the severe disaster during an air show.