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RAF Mildenhall 1st Lt. Matthias Daue, 26, of Berlin, Germany, and his 3-year-old daughter, Anastasia, were two of the dozens of visitors to the American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday.
RAF Mildenhall 1st Lt. Matthias Daue, 26, of Berlin, Germany, and his 3-year-old daughter, Anastasia, were two of the dozens of visitors to the American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)
RAF Mildenhall 1st Lt. Matthias Daue, 26, of Berlin, Germany, and his 3-year-old daughter, Anastasia, were two of the dozens of visitors to the American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday.
RAF Mildenhall 1st Lt. Matthias Daue, 26, of Berlin, Germany, and his 3-year-old daughter, Anastasia, were two of the dozens of visitors to the American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)
Six-year-old Daniel Harris arrived in a mini flight suit complete with a United States Air Forces in Europe patch to the American Air Day at the Duxford American Air Day in Cambridgeshire.
Six-year-old Daniel Harris arrived in a mini flight suit complete with a United States Air Forces in Europe patch to the American Air Day at the Duxford American Air Day in Cambridgeshire. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)
Two F-15 Eagle fighter jets from RAF Lakenheath perform a low altitude flyover during American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday.
Two F-15 Eagle fighter jets from RAF Lakenheath perform a low altitude flyover during American Air Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)
Senior Airman Daniel Weaver, 23, of Columbus, Ga., details the workings of a guided bomb unit from the 48th Munitions Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. Weaver was one of scores of American airmen on hand at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday in Cambridgeshire.
Senior Airman Daniel Weaver, 23, of Columbus, Ga., details the workings of a guided bomb unit from the 48th Munitions Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. Weaver was one of scores of American airmen on hand at the Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday in Cambridgeshire. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)
Former Royal Air Force pilot David Ratcliffe steers a 1946 Spitfire onto the runway as Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher sits in the backseat of the World War II-era aircraft. Fletcher, who is the deputy commander of 3rd Air Force and the highest ranking Air Force officer in the United Kingdom, flew the Spitfire at American Air Day.
Former Royal Air Force pilot David Ratcliffe steers a 1946 Spitfire onto the runway as Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher sits in the backseat of the World War II-era aircraft. Fletcher, who is the deputy commander of 3rd Air Force and the highest ranking Air Force officer in the United Kingdom, flew the Spitfire at American Air Day. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

UK weekly edition, Wenesday, August 1, 2007

DUXFORD — Britons eager for a closer view of American airpower arrived by the thousands on Saturday at one of the country’s premier air museums, host of American Air Day celebrating the 60th birthday of the U.S. Air Force.

Scores of airmen clad in camouflage from nearby RAFs Mildenhall and Lakenheath were on hand at the Imperial War Museum Duxford to welcome guests from across England who came to watch vintage aircraft take to the skies alongside some of America’s most sophisticated aircraft.

“It’s always good to come out and interact with the British, who are just crazy about aviation and aircraft,” said 48th Fighter Wing Capt. Kristin Wehle, who serves as a weapons system officer on an F-15 Eagle.

One of Wehle’s comrades quip- ped that some civilian Britons often challenge airmen on their aviation knowledge.

“They know more than we do half the time,” said 48th Fighter Wing Tech. Sgt. Michael Atkinson.

And hundreds of other airmen and their families, clad in shorts and T-shirts thanks to the first sunny day in weeks, moseyed along the grounds’ main thoroughfare, watching a day full of flyovers and learning a bit along the way.

First Lt. Daniel Fulk, 31, of Lebanon, Pa., who serves with Detachment 4, 18th Intelligence Squadron on RAF Feltwell, and 1st Lt. Matthias Daue, 26, of Berlin, Germany, who serves with the 100th Air Refueling Wing on RAF Mildenhall, both said the air day served as a living history lesson.

“It’s good to see the Americans and the Brits get together and learn a little bit about each other’s history,” Fulk said.

Daue, who brought his 3-year-old daughter, Anastasia, concurred.

“It’s really nice to see so much history here,” he said. “It’s an interesting window into the past.”

And that past came to life with flyovers from a World War II-era Spitfire, co-piloted by 3rd Air Force deputy commander Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher, as well as the last airworthy F-86 Saber, which flew combat missions during the Korean War.

“Preparing to fly this aircraft reminds me of the tremendous bravery and incredible courage of the airmen in that generation,” said Fletcher, who flew C-130s during his Air Force career. “It’s just a tremendous honor.”

Ten-year-old Daniel Scholes Jr., attended the air day with his parents, who live in a nearby village. He said seeing the Spitfire up close was his personal highlight.

“It’s a popular English plane that I’ve learned about in school,” he said.

Fellow young aviation enthusiast, 6-year-old Daniel Harris, said the special operations C-130 was his favorite aircraft.

“Because it holds so many different vehicles,” he said.

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