More than 1,000 RAF Mildenhall US air force personnel and families to move to Gloucestershire
- Credit: citizenside.com
Hundreds of US air force staff from RAF Mildenhall and their families are moving to Gloucestershire as the Suffolk base prepares for closure.
About 530 USAF personnel and 740 dependants will relocate to RAF Fairford and the surrounding areas, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.
The US Department of Defense announced in January 2015 the decision to close the Suffolk base, home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing and more than 3,300 airmen, but the US drawdown was delayed until 2024 at the earliest.
The MoD has said it will continue to support those UK personnel that will be affected by the closure of RAF Mildenhall.
Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People & Veterans, said: “For more than a hundred years now our armed forces have fought in defence of our common values and interests. Our two countries have developed the deepest, broadest and most advanced defence relationship of any two nations.
“The agreement to relocate the United States Rivet Joint capability to RAF Fairford cements US presence at the base and will bring substantial benefits to Gloucestershire and local communities.”
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RC-135 aircraft will use RAF Fairford as a location to deploy as required from the US, as they currently do at RAF Mildenhall.
The MoD said this investment, together with the presence of USAF personnel and their families, was expected to bring substantial financial benefits to the Gloucestershire economy and local communities, and secures the US presence at the base.
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The US intends for the relocation to take place by 2023.
James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “USAF personnel are our friends and neighbours and have been for decades. Therefore, we are used to the military moving personnel and units as the need requires.
“For example Forest Heath is soon to be home to the F35 and the thousands of personnel that support this aircraft. We are working closely with the MoD and USAF on the long-term plans for Mildenhall for when it finally closes, and we understand that this relocation is part of that transition.
“In the meantime we continue to support all military personnel and their families in our area.”
The US drawdown at RAF Mildenhall forms part of a review of the infrastructure requirements necessary to support US forces and their missions in and around Europe.