Lakenheath/Feltwell: Independence Day event at US base cancelled due to budget cuts

Large crowds at RAF Feltwell during the Independence Day celebrations in 2012

Large crowds at RAF Feltwell during the Independence Day celebrations in 2012 - Credit: Archant

A POPULAR Independence Day celebration at a US base in Suffolk has been cancelled due to budget cuts.

The 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, has been forced to scrap the July 4 celebration at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk “as a matter of fiscal responsibility”.

The event, which featured fireworks, fairground rides and various entertainment, has traditionally been open to service personnel and local people.

An RAF Lakenheath spokesman said despite the event’s cancellation, the US Air Force (USAF) remained committed to the area and there were not plans to move personnel from the base.

He added: “July 4 is a day we enjoy sharing with our friends in the local area, however, we had to make the tough decision to cancel this year’s event.

“Nevertheless, the 48th Fighter Wing remains a committed partner in the East Anglia community.

“Budget curtailments are expected to persist through September 30 at which point wing leadership will re-evaluate based on the next fiscal year budget.”

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Just a fortnight ago the EADT revealed two of 48th Fighter Wing’s F-15 Eagle Squadrons, based at RAF Lakenheath, were grounded until at least September in response to the effects of US government defence budget cuts.

The USAF’s budget for the fiscal year ending in October is being cut by $591million (£386m).

A spokesman added: “Staff will be preparing for the next deployment and we are not grounding everybody by any means.

“Training will increase and maintenance will be carried out so people will not be sitting down.

“We have a flight simulator but that’s not saying the cuts won’t impact on us. We will do what we can to keep ready for deployment.”