Air Cadets from 209 (West Bridgford) Sqn and 1936 (Newton) have spent the day with the United States Air Force at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.
RAF Mildenhall is the home of the USAF’s 100th Air Refuelling Wing which started life in 1943 with B17 Flying Fortresses. They suffered appalling casualties to start with and got the nickname ‘The Bloody 100th.’ Now they have the letters NKAWTG written everywhere, including the entrance to their HQ. It stands for, ‘Nobody Kicks Ass without Taking Gas.’
During the morning the Cadets visited the Air Traffic Control Tower and the Bird Control Unit. The staff of the Bird Control Unit showed the Cadets the Hawks and Falcons they use to keep other birds away from the aircraft.
A Harris Hawk of the Bird Control Unit
After lunch the Cadets were shown around a KC-135 tanker aircraft of the 351st Air Refuelling Squadron. The Cadets were split into two groups. One group was shown around the cockpit by a pilot. The other group was taken to the rear of the aircraft and shown were the Boom Operator lies to control the refuelling boom which connects to other aircraft to deliver the fuel.
Cadets in front of a KC-135 tanker of the 351st Air Refuelling Sqn
Cadet Alex Charnley of 209 Sqn said of the visit, “The whole experience was really good and I enjoyed meeting the American Aircrew.”
Sgt (ATC) Richard Vincett 209 Sqn ATC