max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

RAF Mildenhall/RAF Lakenheath: Thousands of troops could leave air bases by the end of the year

10:02 06 February 2014


Thousands of troops could leave American air bases in west Suffolk before the end of the year as the world’s most powerful military tightens its belt.


Staff at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall are in the midst of sweeping reforms by the US Air Force, with sources close to the bases suggesting thousands could leave and not be replaced.

The force last year announced measures to reduce its total staff by 25,000 over five years as part of its ‘sequestration’ programme, adapting to budgets cuts totalling billions of dollars.

Technical Sergeant Zachary Melin from RAF Lakenheath confirmed that 1,600 airmen and women from the base were eligible for the first tranche of voluntary redundancy and early retirement programmes, with the total numbers to leave depending on the uptake elsewhere.

He added: “We don’t know how many airmen will ultimately leave Lakenheath in the next year as this is an ongoing process based on overall Air Force numbers, not local quotas.

“The Air Force must implement programmes that reduce the size of our force now in order to meet changing global missions, national security concerns and ongoing budget uncertainty.

“The goal of these Air Force-wide programmes is to reduce the size of our force, while positioning it to meet both current and future mission requirements.”

A statement from RAF Mildenhall also said they did not have to fulfil a specific quota, but confirmed that departures would happen before the end of 2014.

A spokeswoman also confirmed that eligible staff and their families had been offered the same voluntary measures as those at RAF Lakenheath.

The statement read: “We cannot say exactly how RAF Mildenhall will be affected. We can say, however, that there are no plans to relocate a set number of active duty service members from RAF Mildenhall back to the United States.

“Our base’s Airman & Family Readiness Center, along with many other base agencies, is working hard to ensure that any of our service members who are / will be affected by these force management programs receive as much assistance as possible, so they can more easily transition into the civilian workforce.”

While the sequestration programme will come into effect over five years, the bulk of job cuts will be made this year according to documents released by the air force.

Boards determining involuntary redundancies will meet between May and July.

Both bases have been features of the local area for more than 70 years, pumping millions of pounds into the local economy.

County councillor Colin Noble, who grew up in and represents Lakenheath, said: “When these things are announced it’s always a concern in the area, particularly because we very much welcome American personnel and so many people are employed in working on the bases and providing services to the air bases.

“But we also recognise the changing nature of their operational requirements. We understand and accept that change will always be a part of USAF Mildenhall and USAF Lakenheath.”

Senior air force staff held briefings at both Mildenhall and Lakenheath in December, just days after the overall details of sequestration were announced.

Bosses said they hoped to make the majority of cuts through voluntary arrangements, but those with poor disciplinary records would be among the most likely to go.

Lakenheath is the largest US Air Force-operated base in England. It is home to the 48th Fighter Wing, which is made up of around 5,000 active-duty soldiers, and 2,000 civilians.

The 100th Air Refuelling Wing is the main occupier at Mildenhall, although a variety of other squadrons are also assigned there. It is made up of around 3,000 US military and more than 3,500 civilians and family members.


1 comment

  • 1600 airmen to go means that 1600 homes will be vacated so no need to build any more in that area then.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, February 6, 2014

Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service called to Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

Firefighters were called to help a young child who got their head trapped between two bollards.

Travellers in Jaywick.

A group of travellers today returned to a site they had previously camped on in Jaywick - but were stopped in their tracks.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A village stalwart and chairman of a Suffolk parish council hid hundreds of illegal guns in a secret room at his house, a court heard.

The ice skating rink currently being installed in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds

Limited parking capacity in Bury St Edmunds is set to be boosted by 420 extra spaces over the festive period after local brewer Greene King offered free use of its staff car park at weekends.

Kujtin Rexha was jailed for 11 years at Chelmsford Crown Court

Braintree man Kujtin Rexha has been jailed for 11 years for rape and holding a 17-year-old girl against her will for two and a half months.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24