December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
A former RAF base firefighter is travelling more than 5,000 miles to commemorate a lasting friendship and camaraderie.
Bruce Woodrum, 59, from Rushmere St Andrew is flying to Las Vegas on Thursday for the first Annual RAF Bentwaters Fire Department Reunion.
The event lasts until October 21.
Mr Woodrum first came to Bentwaters in February 1980 after being stationed in Florida, and retired in 1988, when he worked as the non-commissioned officer club manager up until the base closure in September 1993. The station is now occupied by film and video production company, Bruizer.
Mr Woodrum said arriving in Suffolk was initially a “culture shock”. He added: “I was like a fish out of water. But I came to love the place. I love the culture, the way of life, the history, and that Europe is on your doorstep.”
A T-shirt has also been designed, so those who cannot make the event can have their own souvenir.
While in Las Vegas, the reunited officers are going to visit the Hoover Dam, take a helicopter ride down the Grand Canyon and possibly even visit the mysterious military installation Area 51.
Between 50 and 70 former firefighters are attending, with Mr Woodrum travelling the furthest.
He tried to hold a reunion at Bentwaters last year, but many former members were in the US and unable to make it. He said: “Some of us haven’t seen each other for 30 years. I’m looking forward to it.”