Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

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

10:02 06 February 2014

Archant

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.

shares

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.

shares

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

    easylec

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP

An MP has been left fuming after a constituent was told she would have to travel from Felixstowe to Ipswich if she wanted to hand in lost property to the police.

Nationally, supply teachers have complained that their normal supply work has dried up because schools are taking the cheaper option of employing cover supervisors.

Suffolk’s schoolchildren face a growing risk of being taught by more unqualified teachers, education chiefs warned last night.

Viva Arts and Community Group perform Willy Russell’s Educating Rita

Farce, black comedy and a theatrical commentary on current affairs are all on the bill for a Suffolk drama festival.

Barry Studd wins Holywells Ward at the local election count at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

It was a bad night for the Tories in Ipswich - and a great one for Labour as they gained two seats on the borough council.

Anzani House

A charity has successfully used a Government-created loophole to avoid the perils of applying for planning permission to turn one of the region’s largest office blocks into 197 homes.

Ipswich Town 2016/17 kit

Ipswich Town have unveiled their new home, away and goalkeeper kits ahead of the new season.

Primark Ipswich

Some of the largest retailers in the heart of Ipswich are planning a multi-million pound investment in the town centre, MP Ben Gummer says today.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A burglar who stole a boiler from an unoccupied house on a new development while struggling with drug addiction must pay more than £2,000 compensation.

From left, Morgan O’Sullivan of Cushman, Simon Jennings of Ernest Doe & Sons, Darren Baldwin of Tottenham Hotspur FC and Andy Turbin, also fo Ernest Doe & Sons, with the fleet of electric vehicles supplied for the club's training ground.
Photo: Contributed

Tottenham Hotspur weren’t quite able to cut it in the Premier League, just missing out on this year’s title to Leicester City.

The Albert Sloman Library and Silberrad Student Centre, Essex University, Credi: Patel Taylor

The University of Essex has defended a doubling in the number of staff earning six-figure salaries in the past five years – and awarding a £55,000 pay rise to its vice chancellor – saying it operates “within a highly competitive market”.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24