Mildenhall Airmen help preserve RAF museum
By Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 22, 2016
RAF MILDENHALL, England-- --
RAF MILDENHALL, England-- Back when a gallon of gas cost 15 cents and a person could purchase a new car for a little over $1,000 - U.S. Army Air Corp Airmen roamed the base at RAF Rougham, England. Fast forward 71 years, and a group of U.S. Air Force Airmen returned with a new mission.
On July 17, 2016, Airmen from Team Mildenhall’s Air Force Sergeants’ Association visited the now RAF Rougham Tower Museum to help maintain the facility’s estates.
“We researched and found several museums around Suffolk, so we decided to reach out to the Rougham Tower Museum,” said Tech. Sgt. Javier Mejia, 100th Air Refueling Wing readiness inspector. “We decided to use this former base because of the history that it contains and how it relates to our history as being the Bloody Hundredth.”
The small group of volunteers helped out by performing minor landscaping.
“They did an awful lot of manual work here today,” said Michael Brundle, RAF Rougham Tower Museum guide. “They cleared weeds out of the old tarmac and edged up the grass along the sidewalks. It’s great to see Airmen back on the grounds.”
At the museum, visitors can walk through the World War II era tower and see everything from uniforms worn in that time period to equipment that was aboard the aircraft stationed there. Guests can even take a close look at a simulator that pilots used for training.
“During tours, I used to tell visitors that the simulator doesn’t work. I’d tell them ‘this is what a linked trainer looks like,” recounted Brundle. “We didn’t even ask them to fix the flight simulator and before I knew it they got it fixed.”
Once Mejia had heard about the downed trainer, he and Tech. Sgt. Victor Reyes, 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Group quality assurance chief inspector, sprang into action and put their combined knowledge, skills and experience in maintenance and civil engineering to work.
“The simulator hadn’t worked for years,” Mejia said. “We found that it was an electronic problem so we fixed it.”
Through volunteering, Airmen got a glimpse of what military life was like there in the early 1940s.
“The sacrifices made by all of the Airmen in WWII are unimaginable,” said Tech. Sgt. David West, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron commander support staff NCO. “It’s really humbling to be able to come out here and help.”