Support our mission

American airmen were called out to the British town of Fairford on Wednesday night to assist locals preparing for likely floodwaters that have already stricken some parts of England.

The airmen from RAF Fairford, about 30 miles west of Oxford, helped fill in more than 200 sandbags after the town’s mayor and council requested assistance from the base, according to Maj. Steve Grace, commander of the 420th Civil Engineering Squadron.

Hand tools were also brought over to facilitate the filling of the sandbags, which were placed around low-lying homes or put aside for emergency use, Grace wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

“It’s been fantastic that the United States Air Force has come to our assistance,” Fairford Mayor John Morgan said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We could have been in dire straits.”

Airmen assisted the town last July when downpours caused widespread flooding: At least 100 homes in town were damaged by floodwaters after its River Coln swelled over.

In the recent flooding, there has been only minor damage to some Fairford homes, Morgan said. The base reported no damage to its facilities.

Fairford residents continue to monitor the river, which splits the town into two parts. The river is currently under a flood warning, Morgan said. As of Thursday, it was flowing around 1 to 1 ½ feet above normal, Grace said.

Flood-prevention measures also have been taken on base.

“We’ve ensured that all of our storm drains are clear, and we’ve built up some sandbag barriers near the facilities that were flooded (in) July,” Grace said, adding that there’s been no backup of water at all this week.

With rain, some of it heavy, projected over the next few days, the base as well as the town of about 4,000 residents will be on the lookout, Grace said.

“Everyone’s really just watching to see how the weather holds up through the weekend,” he said.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, base personnel will be available to the town as well as other townships.

“We’ll continue to support these communities anytime there’s a threat to their life, safety or property,” Grace said. “It’s not only U.S. Air Force policy, but it’s also the right thing to do.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up