RAF Mildenhall USAF base closure to be reconsidered by EUCOM

Eastern Daily Press, By Matt Reason, 18 April 2017

The decision to close down the Suffolk US Air Force base is being looked at again by EU Command.

The US Department of Defense made the decision to close RAF Mildenhall, home to the 100th Air Refuelling Wing and more than 3,300 airmen.

The base is tabled to close in 2023, with 15 European US bases closing in total. RAF Mildenhall is the largest to close.

The closures are implemented by the United States European Command (EUCOM), who are now reviewing the decision in response to the heightened security situation in Europe.

A statement from EUCOM said: “Considering the current European security environment, it is a prudent measure to review some of the decisions under the January 2015 European Infrastructure Consolidation effort.”

It added: “These closures were programmed over a number of fiscal years and to date, none of these sites have been returned to the host nation, as we are putting the necessary infrastructure in place to facilitate mission and personnel moves necessary.”

If EUCOM, who are known to be keen on increasing the number of US Army troops in Europe, do decide against closing RAF Mildenhall down, the closures could still go ahead.

The ultimate decision is down to the US Department of Defense.

President Donald Trump’s recent arrival at an interventionist position with regards to Syria could strengthen the chances of RAF Mildenhall staying, with the refuelling wing often playing a role in Middle East exercises.

7 responses to “RAF Mildenhall USAF base closure to be reconsidered by EUCOM

  1. It would be nice if they want us in their country and risk our people to protect them, why don’t they pay the bill to keep them there?

    • As I understand it, the decision for the US Air Force to re-open Mildenhall came from US Defense Secretary Mattis under the recommendation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen.Tod D. Wolters. This is due to increasing escalations by Russia in Syria and Islamic State in the Middle East. The US Air Force has a requirement to use Mildenhall as a re-fuelling base for operations in the Middle East. The British have not requested an American presence for their protection and the British government have agreed to host the USAF at Mildenhall in an ongoing joint effort to combat terrorism.

      • Apology completely unnecessary GP. You are quite right about the chronic NATO underspend and something really has to be done about it. The fact that there is an expectation in many European countries that the United States will pay for their defence by supplying US troops and hardware is unacceptable. I apologise if my reply was abrupt, it certainly wasn’t meant to come across that way.

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