US on English ground

Photo: www.lakenheath.af.mil

Although the title is confusing at first glance, there is no mistake: The Lakenheath military base, 70 miles northeast of London and 25 miles north of Cambridge, is often said to be “America on English ground”. It belongs entirely to the US Air Force and everything inside it, ranging from traffic signs, big shops, restaurants, schools, large hospitals, to cinemas is made so that the staff these has feeling like it’s in America. The Lakenheath base for the US Air Force and NATO is of great strategic importance. It is home for 48th Fighter Squadron of the United States Air Force, which has multiple assault fighter-bombers “F-15E” and “F15C strike eagle”, as well as two groups of the latest fighter aircraft “raptor F-22”. They are ready for action at any time, 24 hours a day, day and night, regardless of meteorological conditions.

Lakenheath is for now the only US Air Force base in Europe and one of the largest in England. Planes stationed there have in the past taken off for several major actions, such as the bombing of Libya in 1986, as well as attacks on Iraq in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, aircraft at Lakenheath and their pilots played a key role in counter-terrorism operations and combat operations such as Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The “heart” of the Lakenheath base is so-called “The 48th Fighter Squadron Operations Group” which is responsible for preparing pilots and support personnel to implement the plans of the European Command of the US Air Force, the European Command of the US Armed Forces and NATO. The Operations Group is also in charge of purchasing the necessary equipment and controlling the existing ones. They are also in charge of training, weather monitoring, intelligence analyzes, oversight of the effectiveness of flight operations, etc. Staff in charge of the technical maintenance of the aircraft are as important as the staff working at the large hospital. At the end of last year, BBC reporters were allowed to enter this base and have a look into almost every corner of it, allowing the public to see what Lakenheath looks like from the inside.

 

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