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RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall, located near Mildenhall in Suffolk, England, is a Royal Air Force station that primarily supports United States Air Force (USAF) operations. It is currently home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing (100 ARW) and has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1934 as one of the RAF’s largest bomber stations. Since the 1950s, the base has been a joint operation between the RAF and the USAF, and it has played a crucial role in various military operations and missions.

Key Takeaways

  • RAF Mildenhall is a UK air base that primarily supports United States Air Force operations.
  • It has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1934.
  • The base is currently home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing.
  • RAF Mildenhall has played a crucial role in various military operations and missions.
  • It is located near Mildenhall in Suffolk, England.

History of RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall has a fascinating history that spans over eight decades. The base was established in 1934 and played a significant role during the Second World War. As part of RAF Bomber Command, it was instrumental in conducting operational combat missions. After the war, RAF Mildenhall became a strategic base for the United States Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), hosting B-50 Superfortresses and later KC-97 Stratofreighters.

“RAF Mildenhall has a rich history that highlights its importance in various military operations. The base’s involvement in the Second World War and its strategic role in the USAF’s operations demonstrate its significance.” – RAF Historian

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, RAF Mildenhall was involved in U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird operations, carrying out vital reconnaissance missions. These aircraft were at the forefront of technological advancements and played a crucial role during the Cold War. Today, RAF Mildenhall continues to be an essential hub for the United States Air Force in Europe, providing support and contributing to various military operations and readiness.

Table: RAF Mildenhall Historical Milestones

Year Event
1934 Establishment of RAF Mildenhall
1939-1945 RAF Bomber Command operational missions during the Second World War
1950s Base became strategic for USAF’s Strategic Air Command (SAC)
1970s-1980s Involvement in U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird operations

RAF Mildenhall’s rich history is a testament to its importance in military operations throughout the years. From its involvement in the Second World War to hosting strategic aircraft and conducting vital reconnaissance missions, the base has continuously played a significant role. It remains a vital component of the United States Air Force’s operations and serves as a symbol of the strong partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom.


  1. RAF Mildenhall History. Retrieved from RAF Mildenhall official website: [insert link]

Location and Facilities

RAF Mildenhall is strategically located near the town of Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Situated in the United Kingdom, the base provides easy access to other parts of Europe, making it an ideal location for the United States Air Force operations in the region.

The base spans across 482 hectares and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to support the operations of the 100th Air Refueling Wing and other units stationed at RAF Mildenhall. These facilities include hangars, aircraft maintenance facilities, command and control centers, accommodation for personnel and their families, medical facilities, recreational areas, and dining facilities.

Facility Description
Hangars Provides covered space for aircraft maintenance and storage.
Accommodation Offers on-base lodging options at the Gateway Inn and additional options at the nearby Liberty Lodge.
Medical facilities Provides healthcare services for personnel and their families.
Recreational areas Includes sports fields, fitness centers, theaters, and other recreational facilities.
Dining facilities Offers various dining options to cater to the diverse needs of personnel.

The location and facilities at RAF Mildenhall contribute to the efficient and effective operation of the base, ensuring that personnel have access to the resources they need to carry out their missions and maintain a high state of readiness.

Units at RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall is home to several important units of the United States Air Force. These units play a significant role in supporting military operations and missions both within the base and beyond.

100th Air Refueling Wing

The 100th Air Refueling Wing is the primary unit stationed at RAF Mildenhall. As the name suggests, their main responsibility is air refueling operations. They provide crucial support to aircraft in need of fuel, extending their range and capabilities.

352d Special Operations Wing

The 352d Special Operations Wing is another key unit based at RAF Mildenhall. They specialize in special operations, carrying out various missions that require special tactics and skills. These missions can involve reconnaissance, direct action, or unconventional warfare.

501st Combat Support Wing

The 501st Combat Support Wing is also stationed at RAF Mildenhall. Their primary role is to provide combat support to other units and operations. This includes a wide range of functions, such as logistics, security, communications, and medical support.

These units work together to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of the United States Air Force at RAF Mildenhall. Their contributions are vital in maintaining a strong presence and fulfilling the mission objectives of the base.

Unit Main Responsibility
100th Air Refueling Wing Air refueling operations
352d Special Operations Wing Special operations
501st Combat Support Wing Combat support

Operations and Readiness

RAF Mildenhall plays a vital role in supporting the operations and readiness of the United States Air Force. As an operational base, it conducts a wide range of missions, including air refueling, special operations, and combat support. These operations are essential for maintaining a strong presence in Europe and supporting global military objectives.

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The base is highly focused on maintaining a high state of readiness at all times. This involves rigorous training, regular exercises, and continuous evaluation to ensure personnel and equipment are prepared for any mission or contingency. The dedication to readiness is a testament to the commitment, professionalism, and expertise of the personnel stationed at RAF Mildenhall.

RAF Mildenhall’s strategic location in the United Kingdom provides a strong foundation for operations and enables efficient response times to potential threats or emergency situations. The base’s proximity to other European countries also facilitates collaboration and joint training exercises with our NATO allies, enhancing interoperability and strengthening regional security.

Mission Examples:

• Air Refueling Operations: RAF Mildenhall’s 100th Air Refueling Wing plays a critical role in enabling extended missions for aircraft by providing mid-air refueling capabilities. This capability allows aircraft to extend their range, stay on station longer, and support global operations.

• Special Operations: The 352d Special Operations Wing based at RAF Mildenhall conducts a variety of specialized missions, including personnel recovery, unconventional warfare, and psychological operations. These operations require a high level of skill, precision, and adaptability.

• Combat Support: The 501st Combat Support Wing provides essential support functions at RAF Mildenhall, including security forces, logistics, engineering, and communications. These capabilities are crucial for sustaining operations and ensuring the base remains fully operational.

Mission Function
Air Refueling Operations Extend aircraft range and support global operations
Special Operations Personnel recovery, unconventional warfare, and psychological operations
Combat Support Security, logistics, engineering, and communications

Community and Culture

RAF Mildenhall has a vibrant and close-knit community that extends beyond the base into the surrounding local area. The base itself offers numerous amenities and services to support the well-being of its personnel and their families, fostering a strong sense of camaraderie and belonging.

Within the base, there are various recreational facilities, including gyms, sports fields, and hobby clubs, providing opportunities for personnel to engage in physical activities and pursue their interests. These amenities not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also create a sense of unity and shared experiences among the community.

“The community at RAF Mildenhall is incredibly welcoming and supportive. From organized events and gatherings to informal get-togethers, there are countless opportunities to connect with fellow personnel and establish lifelong friendships.”

RAF Mildenhall also actively engages with the local community, fostering positive relationships and contributing to the region. The base participates in community events and initiatives, providing a platform for personnel to collaborate with local organizations and give back to the community.

Overall, the community and culture at RAF Mildenhall are key aspects of life on the base. It is a place where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together, support one another, and create lasting memories.

Community Events and Engagements

RAF Mildenhall organizes a variety of community events throughout the year to foster a sense of unity and strengthen ties with the local community. These events range from family-friendly gatherings to fundraisers for charitable causes.

One of the highlight events is the annual RAF Mildenhall Air Fete, which showcases aerial displays, static aircraft exhibitions, and various entertainment options for visitors of all ages. The Air Fete attracts locals and aviation enthusiasts from around the country, providing an opportunity for the base to connect with the wider community.

Additionally, RAF Mildenhall actively supports local charities and organizations through volunteer work, fundraising initiatives, and donations. This involvement not only benefits those in need but also showcases the base’s commitment to making a positive impact on the local community.

Community Events Engagements
RAF Mildenhall Air Fete Local charity partnerships
Annual base carnival Community outreach programs
Family fun runs Collaborations with local schools

Travel and Logistics

When stationed at RAF Mildenhall, travel and logistics are important considerations for personnel. As the base is located in the United Kingdom, personnel may need to travel both within the country and to other parts of Europe for official duties or leisure activities. Fortunately, there are various resources and support services available to assist with travel arrangements and logistics.

For official travel, personnel can rely on the base’s transportation office, which can assist with booking flights, arranging accommodations, and providing guidance on travel regulations and requirements. The transportation office can also help with obtaining the necessary paperwork and documents for international travel, such as passports and visas. It is important to consult with the transportation office well in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

When it comes to personal travel, personnel have the opportunity to explore the United Kingdom and other European destinations. From the picturesque countryside and historic landmarks to vibrant cities and cultural attractions, there is no shortage of places to visit. Personnel should ensure they have a valid tourist passport and comply with any travel restrictions or guidelines provided by the base or their commanding officer.

Passports and Visas

When stationed at RAF Mildenhall, personnel and their dependents must ensure they have valid passports and visas to enter and stay in the United Kingdom. The UK border agency provides detailed information on passport and visa requirements for military personnel and their families, and it is important to comply with these regulations to avoid any legal issues or complications.

Obtaining passports and visas can be a lengthy process, so it is recommended to initiate the application well in advance of the planned arrival at RAF Mildenhall. This will allow sufficient time for processing and ensure a smooth transition. The UK border agency website provides comprehensive guidelines and instructions for obtaining passports and visas, including the necessary forms, supporting documents, and fees.

It is important to note that the specific passport and visa requirements may vary depending on the nationality and purpose of travel. Therefore, personnel and their dependents should carefully review the guidelines provided by the UK border agency to determine the appropriate steps to take. It is also advisable to seek assistance from the base personnel office or legal services if needed.

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By ensuring that passports and visas are obtained and maintained in compliance with the UK border agency regulations, personnel and their families can enjoy a hassle-free stay at RAF Mildenhall and fully participate in the various activities and opportunities available in the United Kingdom.

Table: Passport and Visa Requirements

Nationality Passport Requirements Visa Requirements
United States Valid US passport required Visa not required for stays less than 6 months
United Kingdom Valid UK passport required N/A (UK citizens)
Other Nationalities Passport required (check specific requirements) Visa required (check specific requirements)

Pet Travel and Quarantine

When it comes to personnel stationed at RAF Mildenhall who want to bring their pets with them, there are specific procedures to follow to ensure a smooth and quarantine-free entry for their animals. Whether you have a furry friend or a feathered companion, the base provides comprehensive guidance and resources for pet transportation, ensuring that your pet can join you in your new home. It is essential to plan and arrange for pet travel well in advance to avoid any complications.

Before bringing your pet to RAF Mildenhall, it is crucial to check the requirements for traveling with pets, both within the United Kingdom and from other countries. Different regulations may apply depending on the type of pet, the country of origin, and the specific rules of the UK. It is recommended to consult with the base’s veterinary services or the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

When traveling with your pet, you will need to ensure that they are up to date with their vaccinations and have the necessary documentation, including a pet passport and a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. These documents are essential for proving your pet’s identity, health status, and compliance with import regulations. It is important to note that specific breeds of dogs may be subject to additional restrictions or requirements, so it is advisable to check the breed-specific regulations before traveling.

Additionally, it is advisable to make arrangements for pet transportation well in advance, especially if you are traveling from a different country. There are various pet transportation services available that specialize in transporting animals safely and comfortably. These services can assist with the logistics of pet travel, including booking flights and ensuring compliance with all necessary requirements. It is essential to choose a reputable and experienced pet transportation service to ensure the well-being of your pet during the journey.

Important Considerations for Pet Travel and Quarantine
1. Research and understand the requirements for pet travel to the United Kingdom and RAF Mildenhall.
2. Consult with the base’s veterinary services or the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for up-to-date information and guidance.
3. Ensure your pet is up to date with vaccinations and obtain the necessary documentation, including a pet passport and a health certificate.
4. Check breed-specific regulations, as certain breeds may have additional restrictions or requirements.
5. Make arrangements for pet transportation well in advance, choosing a reputable and experienced service.

Lodging and Accommodation

RAF Mildenhall lodging

When stationed at RAF Mildenhall, personnel and their dependents have various lodging options available, both on and off the base. The Gateway Inn, located on RAF Mildenhall, offers on-base accommodation for convenience and easy access to facilities. It provides comfortable rooms and amenities to ensure a pleasant stay for personnel and their families. For additional lodging options, the Liberty Lodge at RAF Lakenheath, a neighboring USAF base, is also available. It offers a range of accommodation choices to suit different preferences and needs.

It is advisable to make lodging arrangements well in advance, especially during peak periods or if traveling with pets. Availability can be limited, and planning ahead will help secure the desired accommodation. Whether staying on base or off, personnel can expect comfortable and convenient lodging options that meet their requirements.

Lodging Option Location Facilities Availability
Gateway Inn RAF Mildenhall On-base facilities, convenient access Subject to availability, book in advance
Liberty Lodge RAF Lakenheath Neighboring USAF base, various accommodation choices Subject to availability, book in advance

Table: Comparison of Lodging Options

Overall, personnel stationed at RAF Mildenhall can expect comfortable and suitable lodging options both on and off the base. By planning ahead and making the necessary arrangements, individuals and their families can enjoy a convenient and pleasant stay during their time at RAF Mildenhall.

Communication and Technology

Effective communication and advanced technology are vital aspects of daily operations at RAF Mildenhall. Personnel stationed at the base rely on various communication methods and devices to ensure seamless coordination and timely information exchange. It is important to note that certain cordless devices may interfere with the local emergency response system, and importing such devices can result in fines. Therefore, it is crucial for personnel to comply with local regulations and ensure that their communication devices are compliant and do not pose any risks to the local infrastructure.

The base provides a range of communication resources, including reliable internet connectivity and secure military networks, enabling personnel to stay connected with their families and colleagues both on and off the base. Additionally, RAF Mildenhall offers telephone and video conferencing facilities to support communication needs.

Furthermore, personnel are encouraged to make use of the various technological resources available at RAF Mildenhall. These resources include state-of-the-art computer systems, advanced software applications, and specialized equipment required for specific missions and operations. Training and technical support are provided to ensure personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge to utilize these technological resources effectively.

Data Communication and Connectivity

Table: Communication and Connectivity Resources at RAF Mildenhall

Resource Description
Internet Connectivity High-speed internet access is available throughout the base, ensuring reliable connectivity for communication and research purposes.
Military Networks Secure networks are in place to facilitate classified communication and data exchange within the base.
Telephone Services Telecommunication services, including landline and mobile phones, are provided for personnel to stay connected with their families and colleagues.
Video Conferencing Video conferencing facilities are available for personnel to engage in virtual meetings and collaborations with individuals and teams globally.
Computer Systems State-of-the-art computer systems equipped with the latest hardware and software are readily available for personnel to perform their duties efficiently.
Specialized Equipment Specialized equipment, tailored to specific mission requirements, is provided to personnel to enhance operational capabilities.
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Effective communication and efficient utilization of technology are essential for the smooth functioning of operations at RAF Mildenhall. Personnel are encouraged to stay updated with the latest developments in communication technologies to ensure effective collaboration and mission success.

Cost of Living and Currency

When stationed at RAF Mildenhall, it’s important to consider the cost of living, as the United Kingdom is known for its higher expenses compared to other locations. The currency used in the UK is pounds sterling (£), which is essential to know when managing your finances during your time at the base. It’s advisable to exchange currency at banks or other authorized establishments to ensure fair rates and avoid unnecessary fees.

To give you an idea of the cost of living, here are a few examples of average prices in the UK: a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around £15-£25 per person, a pint of beer can range from £3-£5, and a monthly transportation pass can be approximately £60-£100 depending on your location and needs.

It’s important to plan and budget accordingly, considering factors such as housing, groceries, transportation, and leisure activities. By being aware of the cost of living and managing your finances wisely, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your stay at RAF Mildenhall.

Sample Table Title: Average Monthly Expenses in the UK (in pounds sterling)

Expense Category Average Cost
Housing (Rent or Mortgage) £800-£1,500
Groceries £200-£400
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water) £100-£200
Transportation £150-£300
Dining Out £200-£400
Entertainment £100-£300

“Understanding and managing the cost of living is essential for a successful stay at RAF Mildenhall. By budgeting wisely and being mindful of expenses, you can make the most of your time here and enjoy all that the United Kingdom has to offer.” – RAF Mildenhall Finance Office

It’s worth noting that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on individual choices, lifestyle, and location within the UK. Additionally, prices may change over time due to various factors, so it’s always recommended to research current costs and plan your budget accordingly.

Travel in Europe

One of the exciting opportunities that comes with being stationed at RAF Mildenhall is the chance to travel and explore various European destinations. With its strategic location in the United Kingdom, personnel have easy access to a plethora of captivating countries and attractions across Europe. From historic cities steeped in culture to breathtaking natural landscapes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

When planning your travels, it is essential to have a tourist passport, which allows for leisure travel purposes. A tourist passport is different from an official or diplomatic passport and is specifically designed for personal travel during or in conjunction with official overseas assignments. It is important to ensure that your passport is valid and up to date before embarking on your European adventures.

Exploring European destinations from RAF Mildenhall is made easy with the availability of reliable transportation options. Whether you prefer to fly, take a train, or embark on a road trip, there are multiple travel choices to suit your preferences. It is advisable to plan your itineraries in advance and research the best routes and modes of transportation for each destination you wish to visit.

As you venture across Europe, be sure to immerse yourself in the diverse cultures, cuisines, and attractions that each country has to offer. From the romantic streets of Paris to the historic ruins of Rome, the possibilities for discovery and adventure are endless. Make the most of your time in Europe by embracing the unique experiences and creating memories that will last a lifetime.


In summary, RAF Mildenhall is a vital military base located near Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. As one of the largest bomber stations in the Royal Air Force, it has a rich history dating back to 1934. The base has been a joint operation between the RAF and the United States Air Force since the 1950s and has played a crucial role in various military operations and missions.

RAF Mildenhall offers state-of-the-art facilities to support the operations of the 100th Air Refueling Wing and other units stationed there. It is home to several important units of the United States Air Force, including the 352d Special Operations Wing and the 501st Combat Support Wing. The base conducts various operational missions, including air refueling, special operations, and combat support, contributing to the readiness of the United States Air Force.

Furthermore, RAF Mildenhall has a vibrant community within the base and in the surrounding local community. It provides amenities and services to support the well-being of personnel and their families. Travel and logistics are essential considerations for those stationed at RAF Mildenhall, as the base’s strategic location in the United Kingdom allows for easy access to other parts of Europe. Finally, it is important for personnel to be aware of the various aspects of life at RAF Mildenhall, including communication, technology, cost of living, and travel opportunities in Europe, to ensure a successful and fulfilling experience during their time at the base.

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