British air cadets get a peek inside US Air Force
By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 8, 2017
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — More than 150 air cadets from all over England got a rare glimpse on Friday of U.S. Air Force operations and equipment at RAF Lakenheath.
“Events like these highlight the close relationship RAF Lakenheath shares with our RAF partners and the local community,” said 1st Lt. Elias Small, 48th Fighter Wing public affairs officer, referring to the Royal Air Force. “We really appreciate the cadets’ interest in our mission, and this has been a great opportunity to showcase what the Liberty Wing can do.”
Students ages 13-20 rotated through practical demonstrations inside a hangar by airmen from various units. They saw military dogs, vehicles and tools used by security forces, weather systems for austere conditions, and a static display of three F-15 Eagles.
“They get an insight into how the U.S. Air Force operates,” said Mildenhall’s British station commander, Squadron Leader Richard Fryer. “About 40 something years ago I was in their shoes visiting Royal Air Force stations, and that’s probably why I do what I do today.”
The airmen invited cadets to use the equipment and engaged with them as they asked questions with eagerly raised hands.
Cpl. Will Brown said he rode a bus for more than three hours with his classmates for the up-close tour.
“You get to see behind the scenes in the actual real world,” said the 13-year-old cadet. “I hope to come back to RAF Lakenheath soon because it’s such a nice base, and I haven’t really experienced anything like this.”
Learning aside, the students took selfies with an F-15E Strike Eagle in the background. Some of the younger cadets made a game of leaping up to touch the bottom of the jet wing.
The RAF Air Cadets, the service’s youth organization, numbers more than 50,000 members.