RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Honorary commanders flew on a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker to gain an insight into the 100th Air Refueling Wing mission during RAF Mildenhall Honorary Commanders Day June 26.
The Honorary Commanders’ program brings together dignitaries and leaders from the community in an effort to foster mutual understanding and trust by assisting base commanders with networking in the surrounding areas. They also act as their unit’s representative within their own industry and social circles, and support RAF Mildenhall Airmen by sharing their professional knowledge and personal experiences, as well as participating in squadron and wing events.
“This is our opportunity to strengthen relationships with our honorary commanders and showcase RAF Mildenhall’s importance to our mission sets in Europe and Africa,” said Col. Christopher Amrhein, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander. “We rely on community support to accomplish the mission, and this more than any other way directly shows what we do and that we appreciate our honorary commanders. Their direct interaction fosters the UK-US "special relationship" and supports our Airmen and families, in-turn increasing our resiliency and readiness.”
The flight gave both RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath an opportunity to showcase their capabilities, and demonstrate interoperability with Allies and show exactly what the U.S. brings to the European theatre.
“The flight was spectacular,” said 752nd Special Operations Group honorary commander Marcus Brown. “The best bit was when I looked out of the window and there was a fast jet on the wing; it was just so close!”
The KC-135 refueled F-15 Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing during the flight.
“What I didn’t expect was to be made to feel so welcome by the tanker crew – they really made us feel absolutely part of the journey,” Brown said. “Seeing an F-15 being refueled when I lay down in the boom area – I just can’t describe it. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
Brown added that as a new honorary commander he plans to further build the good relationship between the on and off base community, as well as strengthen the bond between America and Britain.