RAFM volunteer rideshare program provides transport to RAFM, RAFL

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Viviam Chiu
  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen, dependents and any individual with base access can now participate in the rideshare program to receive or provide free transportation between Royal Air Force Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.

Rideshare signs are on both installations, one at the RAF Mildenhall Bird in Hand gate and one at the RAF Lakenheath commissary. Individuals with base ID cards can wait for a free ride by the sign until someone offers to provide a ride.

Issues as a newcomer

Previously, Airmen without personal vehicles relied on the help of a friend or co-worker for transportation to either base.

The lack of public transportation between RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath made it difficult for Airmen to access resources that were not offered at their specific installation.

After experiencing issues due to lack of public transportation, Airman 1st Class Monty Stingely, 100th Civil Engineering Squadron firefighter, initiated the Rideshare program.

“During my time in the First Term Airmen Course, my class and I discussed how we frequently needed to access the RAF Lakenheath BX and commissary and how difficult it was to get a ride without a vehicle,” said Stingely.

An opportunity for mentorship

Stingely received mentorship from members of Team Mildenhall during the development of the rideshare program.

“I pitched the idea to Col. Jason Herring, 100th Air Refueling Wing vice commander, at Spark Tank,” said Stingely. “The 100th CES structures shop stepped in and with the help of Senior Master Sgt. Mercedes Bernard, 100th CES Heavy Repair superintendent, we got some signs made and installed.”

Stingely said the program was inspired by a service at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where individuals in the community offered rides to those in need by using similar signs.

“People in need of a ride to and from simply need to wait by a rideshare sign until someone pulls over to give them a ride,” said Stingely. “The program is mostly targeted towards new arrivals who may not own a personal vehicle. However, other base ID cardholders who need a ride or are willing to give one are encouraged to use the program.”

Helping and inspiring Airmen

“I think the rideshare program will reduce the rush to get a new car by new Airmen, thus allowing them to make a sound decision and get a reliable vehicle,” said Bernard.

As a senior NCO, Bernard encourages Airmen to find solutions to problems and improve the base.

“I encourage Airmen by listening to them; more often than not, you’re not the only person to experience the issue,” said Bernard. “Airmen should not be afraid to pitch ideas that are solving issues!”