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Col. Sharon Holmes, the new commander of RAF Croughton's 422nd Air Base Group.

Col. Sharon Holmes, the new commander of RAF Croughton's 422nd Air Base Group. (Geoff Ziezulewicz / S&S)

Say hello to Col. Sharon Holmes, the new commander of RAF Croughton’s 422nd Air Base Group.

Holmes, her husband and children moved to Croughton in May from an assignment in Washington, D.C. Amid Air Force and wing transformations, Holmes said she’s enjoying life in Britain and the advantages that come with being at a small base.

She sat down with Stripes to talk about small-base living, curry pies and the "Speed Racer" movie.

Welcome to England! Tell us a bit about your family.

My husband is an Air Force reservist. I have one daughter who is getting ready to enter her second year at George Washington University. She’s really enjoying it here, and this has been a wonderful summer for her. My son is 12 and will be entering the British school system.

Were you hoping to land an overseas assignment? We were, absolutely. This was something my husband and I had talked about. We had hoped for a European assignment specifically, so this was a score to come to the U.K.

What’s your take on the area? It’s pretty rural and kind of out there.

It’s perfect for me. It gives an opportunity to get a chance to know quite a few people. Because of our location, we have a unique opportunity as a GSU [geographically separated unit] to mix with a number of the local officials. For me, it’s been quite a fascinating opportunity. The location is great because it’s central to a number of things. At larger bases, folks never have to leave because everything they need is right there.

Does a small base like Croughton help people interact more? Absolutely. That really is one of the rich aspects of it. As I’ve made my rounds to visit a number of high schools we have our students attending, that is an impressive opportunity. It does allow our students and our military members a chance to know some of their counterparts.

Have you gotten used to the exchange rate? [Laughing] Yes! You just deal with it, and it’s something that goes with the territory. It would hit you no matter where you live.

Here comes the flash round. I’m going to ask you for some of your personal favorites. Your favorite author? I could tell you what types of books I like, but I can’t say I have a favorite author. I like a lot of history and quite a few biographies. Books about history, some of the ones I’ve read recently were "Why Freedom Matters," but in this case, it’s not a biography. It’s a history snapshot of a lot of people’s opinions historically about what freedom means in America. I thought that was appropriate to read here.

Favorite food? I like fish. Salmon’s my favorite.

Your favorite musician or album? I really like Christian music, so I would say I would like praise and worship, but I don’t have a specific one. But I like all kinds of music, jazz, classical.

Favorite movie? This is really crazy, but I really like the "Transformer" and "Speed Racer" movies [laughing]. I really enjoyed those!

Favorite TV show? This is funny because I can’t see it here. But I absolutely enjoy watching all kinds of news, and the "McNeill-Lehrer News Hour" is my absolute favorite. I’d tape that back in the States. And of course I love "Meet the Press."

What do you like to do when you’re not working? I do like to travel and I like museums and I like to see a lot of history. That’s why I think this is just a fascinating place to be.

Are there any British foods you hadn’t tried before that you’ve come to like? I had some of their pies. I can’t think of the name of the restaurant, but they had these pies. I had a curry pie, and that was just wonderful.


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