British leaders will get a rare glimpse into the inner workings of U.S. Air Forces in Europe when they embark Sunday on a three-day tour of bases in Germany and Italy.

Aimed at generating support for military operations in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe, the tour will take the group from RAF Mildenhall aboard a KC-135 refueling jet to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and then on to Aviano Air Base in Italy.

“Members of this group can help facilitate support of USAF(E) operations around the globe, aid our communications efforts on local issues involving the bases and enhance U.K. national support of USAF(E) efforts in this nation,” Maj. John Haynes, 3rd Air Force spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

Citing force protection, Haynes would not identify the Britons scheduled to make the journey, saying only that “they are key leaders from throughout the United Kingdom who are in a position to generate support for U.S. activities in the United Kingdom or are influential in shaping bilateral policy both in the United Kingdom and theaterwide.”

The U.K.-based 3rd Air Force vice commander, Maj. Gen. Jack Eggington, will lead the excursion.

“I’m very pleased to host such a distinguished group,” Eggington wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “I’m certain they’ll have a terrific experience and walk away from this trip with a much better understanding of our Air Force operations.”

At Ramstein, members of the 86th Contingency Response Group and the 435th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility are set to brief the group on the units’ fast-paced operations and give them a look inside the venerable C-17 Globemaster at the heart of their missions.

While at Aviano, members of the 510th Fighter Squadron will present an F-16 combat munitions display. The British leaders also will meet with their Italian counterparts to discuss the massive Aviano 2000 construction project that features 91 projects with a combined budget of $610 million.

Discussions will focus on how USAFE missions fit into global military operations but also will touch on how host nations work with USAFE to address local community programs, issues and infrastructure, Haynes said.

“The goal of this trip is give the attendees a rare chance to witness and experience up-close the missions of NATO, USAFE, 3rd Air Force, and the wings in the three countries,” he said.

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