Suffolk has key role in Iraq conflict

AFTER weeks of preparation and waiting Suffolk is at war.Joining the mighty forces of America and being a part of the British military, troops from Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Wattisham and Honington along with those from Colchester are waiting for the signal to join the attacks on Iraq.

AFTER weeks of preparation and waiting Suffolk is at war.

Joining the mighty forces of America and being a part of the British military, troops from Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Wattisham and Honington along with those from Colchester are waiting for the signal to join the attacks on Iraq.

War against Saddam Hussein began at dawn today and ended the long and patient wait to get going on ousting the tyrant and the long rehearsed strategies would be put in to practice.

Britain's biggest aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, captained by Ipswich man Alan Massey long sailed away to middle eastern waters in preparation for the long-threatened war.

Troops have gradually been leaving the country on postings to Gulf areas to be on standby for action should the talks fail to bring an amicable solution.

RAF Lakenheath, home to the 48th Fighter Wing United States Air Force Europe, was one of the obvious bases to have its place in the conflict.

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The base has been in operation since January 1960 and is today the only F-15 unit based in Europe.

Mildenhall has always been equally likely to have its role in the conflict but it is believed that both Mildenhall and Lakenheath will not be playing in the frontline.

Mildenhall is home to several flying units it also acts as the reception centre for all American air personnel and provides the only tactical fuel tankers for the USAF.

Wattisham is base to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, a helicopter regiment and troops from here are among the 5,500 soldiers from 16 Air Assault Brigade who have been preparing to go to the Gulf.

Also departed from Wattisham is believed to be the 7 Battalion Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers who play a vital role of keeping the AAC's Lynx and Gazelle helicopters able to fly.

Keeping all equipment not only in good working order but in a safe condition is vital and in hot, dry and dusty desert conditions this is difficult and crucial.

The Parachute Regiment is based at Colchester with 13 Regt Royal Logistics Corps, 216 Signal Squadron, Brigade HQ, 16 Close Support Medical Regiment and 156 provost Company, Royal Military Police.

RAF Honington is base for the Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Regiment.

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