US military bases in UNITED KINGDOM
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US military bases in UNITED KINGDOM. Map of the UNITED KINGDOM with military bases of the United States
27 U.S. Base(s)
Long called Air Force's unsinkable aircraft carrier, still hosts major bases; naval presence has declined significantly.
RAF Fairford Air Force Base in Fairford, United Kingdom US Military Bases in the United Kingdom
RAF Mildenhall is located in Suffolk, relatively close to communities in Mildenhall. It is among the most populated American bases located in the United Kingdom. It hosts over 16000 employees – both military and civilian, three different units and 15 associate tenant units.
The history of this military base began in 1930. While the Royal Air Force was looking for a prefect site to open up a base, the officials found the wide fields around Mildenhall to be excellent. The whole construction took a few years, while the groundbreaking ceremony was held in 1934. The primary role of this base was during World War II. It was used for air combat missions by the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. These operations successfully went on until 1945.
Once the war ended, hundreds of base from all over the world were inactivated or disestablished. The same rules applied throughout the United Kingdom as well. Many bases were either inactivated or placed in a stand-by mode. However, RAF Mildenhall didn’t stay out of the military world for too much. It was reactivated only 5 years later, in 1950. The United States of America managed to get an agreement with the United Kingdom to have the chance to use this base as the Cold War was slowly gaining intensity. Getting a little proximity to the Soviet Union would have been an excellent move for the Americans, therefore they gained the access to this base in the summer of 1950. It was initially reopened for the B 29 Superfortress aircrafts. A couple of years later, they were replaced with the B 50 Superfortress planes. One year later, this set had to go too in order to make some room for the KC 97 Stratotanker and the B 47 Stratojet aircrafts. These operations lasted until 1958.
In 1958, the “ancient” runway had to be reconstructed. RAF Mildenhall became the airfield with the best runway in the area then. Ever since, it represented the landing and taking off site for all the American troops in the United Kingdom. During the reconstruction, most operations were transferred to RAF Burtonwood.
These days, the base is still run by the American forces.
The diversity of the units hosted on site makes RAF Mildenhall unique among the US military bases located in Europe. The units come from four specific commands. RAF Mildenhall hosts the 501-st Combat Support Wing, the 100-th Air Refueling Wing, the 95-th Reconnaissance Squadron, the 727-th Air Mobility Squadron, the 352-nd Special Operations Group and the 488-th Intelligence Squadron. There are also 15 tenant units at RAF Mildenhall, as well as the 3-rd Air Force, a few British units or the Fleet Industrial Supply Center Sigonella. The most important British unit is the 420-th Air Base Group.
RAF Croughton Air Force Base in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom US Military Bases in the United Kingdom
RAF Croughton is by far the most important military bases run by the United States of America in Europe. It is located in Northamptonshire, in the central part of the United Kingdom. It is one of the widest military switchboards of Europe. At the same time, it deals with more than 30% of the American communicational operations on the old continent.
The base was established in 1938 as Brackley Landing Ground. It covered almost 700 acres. In order to be built, the authorities had to relocate three huge farms from the area. Although the general facilities were relatively decent, the three runways were basically covered with grass. Its importance was not that big in those times. By 1940, the small base became a complementary base for a larger one in the area – RAF Upper Heyford. Since RAF Upper Heyford had to deal with a wide variety of night training sessions, many of them were directed at Brackley Landing Ground.
As World War II was getting more and more intense, the British government decided to split the British military bases in two categories – primary and secondary. The secondary ones were designated to receive the damaged aircrafts and repair them. RAG Croughton was one of them. They were considered to be emergency bases. Although the move was not quite the smartest, it did confuse the powerful Luftwaffe squad. The German pilots could barely make their decision about what targets are important. At the same time, these emergency bases were not that heavily guarded, so they represented some easy targets.
After World War II ended, the base was inactivated. It was turned into a storage site between 1947 and 1950. By the end of 1950, the base was given to the American forces. The first unit hosted on site was the 1969-th Communications Squadron, representing the start for a continuous update that turned the base into what it is today.
Over the years, the base was extremely important when it came to the communications in the area. It indirectly served in the upcoming conflicts led by the United States of America, from the Gulf War to the recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, it went through a commission for base realignment in the United Kingdom. Many of the units switched their roles in order to ensure equal power for all the RAF bases in the country.
RAF Croughton hosts the 422-nd Air Base Group. The unit is responsible for providing full force and communicational support to serve the interests of the country, regardless of the location and mission objectives. The group supports more alliances too, such as NATO.
The housing system at RAF Croughton is significantly influenced by your task and rank on site. If deployed for a long period of time, you are free to bring in your family as well. Since the United Kingdom is a safe place and the accommodation is not too hard, you can also choose the privatized off site system in the surrounding human communities.
RAF Alconbury in Alconbury, United Kingdom US Military Bases in the United Kingdom
Royal Air Force Alconbury is a British military base located in Cambridgeshire, in the southeastern part of the United Kingdom. It is less than 100 km from London and only 8 km from Huntingdon. Always used by the British forces, the base is run by the United States of America now. It is actually one of the three RAF installations in this situation in Cambridgeshire. Due to being located one close to another, they are usually referred to as the Tri Base Area. Although they are run by the Americans, the internal rules and regulations come from the British government.
The base is named after the close human community from Alconbury. It was raised as a satellite base. Multiple such bases were built by the British forces in case they were attacked or raided by the enemies. When such an attack occurred, the troops were supposed to “hide” the aircrafts in these camouflaged satellite bases that were relatively hard to find from the air. They were supposed to be relatively far from the real bases, at reasonable distances. Around 1938, the British Air Ministry purchased 150 acres around Alconbury to use them for a satellite base. The initial construction was minimal. There was nothing too fancy or to advanced, but only the vital elements. Multiple tests took place in the upcoming months, all of them with positive results. For the first couple of years, the base was a little improved with a few extra huts. The authorities also took in consideration some air refueling operations.
Soon after the World War II outbreak, the British forces started to improve RAF Alconbury some more, while transferring some of their aircrafts. Although the base was under attack by the Luftwaffe forces, no real damage occurred. Therefore, it was no need for the transportation. The new construction drew the attention of the German pilots, but it looked like a useless and abandoned site. In the upcoming nights, the British forces bombed some of the German industrial areas, as well as some ports. Most aircrafts lifted from this satellite base. The night attacks annoyed the Germans even more, who attacked the base two more times, destroying an aircraft each time.
In 1942, the base was handed over to the Americans, more precisely to the famous Eighth Air Force. As a matter of fact, this installation is one of the two that still stand after being run by the Eighth Air Force. Ever since then, the place hosted dozens of different units and went through a few series of upgrades.
These days, RAF Alconbury hosts the 501-st Combat Support Wing and the 423-rd Air Base Group. Since the base is in a stand-by position, the units ensure the inhabitants benefit from a proper homelike life and are constantly trained and equipped to serve the interests of the country whenever unexpected situations arise. The base hosts a few associate tenant units too, not to mention about family members and civilian contractors dealing with various services throughout RAF Alconbury.
RAF Lakenheath Air Force in Lakenheath, United Kingdom US Military Bases in the United Kingdom
Royal Air Force Lakenheath is a RAF military base that is run and operated by the US Air Force. It exclusively hosts American troops. It is located in Suffolk, in the eastern part of the United Kingdom. Among the Air Force personnel, the base is famous for hosting the Liberty Wing. The installation is a co-base run by the Americans under the British regulations and laws.
The place was first used as a military base during World War I. The area was used as a bombing training field, but not for too long. It was entirely abandoned in 1918, when the war ended. Its small importance is the reason why it was not hit and targeted at all during the war. In 1940, its small importance quickly raised. The base was sacrificed to defend a closer one – RAF Mildenhall. It was covered with fake lights for fake runways, in order to distract the Luftwaffe pilots from RAF Mildenhall. When the army figured that the false lights will not attract any attacks, they decided to work on improving the base and turning it into a permanent base. The first unit to join it was the 149 Squadron. It remained in the World War II history as one of the most successful units, with over 350 operations and a low and insignificant percentage of losses. One of the pilots – Rawdon Middleton – was also awarded with the Victoria Cross for his heroic acts. About the end of World War II, the base was taken through a huge process of improvements. It was supposed to take a whole year, but the building operations prolonged with six more months. By the time the construction was over, World War II was already finished.
The Americans took over the base, as well as many others, in a tricky way. Harry S. Truman ordered more bombing units to hang around Germany and the United Kingdom for basic training missions. As a matter of fact, the president had a hidden objective – reaching a good position in front of the powerful Russian threat. By 1950, RAF Lakenheath became one of the most essential bases in the Cold War, with some of the most advanced aircrafts on site.
One of the most important accidents in the base history occurred in 1956, when a bomber crashed and killed everybody on board. The more problematic part was the amount of nuclear weapons on board. Luckily for the surrounding areas, they were not detonated.
RAF Lakenheath houses the 48-th Fighter Wing, with its operations, medical, maintenance and mission support groups. It is also referred to as the Liberty Wing. It was activated on site in 1952 and represents one of the longest lasting units in the Air Force, serving in the area for almost 60 years. The wing counts almost 8000 individuals. About 2000 of them are British civilians and family members, while almost 6000 are active military troops. RAF Lakenheath also hosts a few associate and staff agencies.