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USAFE activates new wing at Mildenhall

by Capt. Heather Healy
3rd Air Force Public Affairs

5/12/2005 - ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England (AFPN) -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe activated a new wing here May 12 enhancing the command’s ability to provide support to its geographically separated units in the United Kingdom.

The Airmen of the 501st Combat Support Wing will focus on units that, by their nature, are separated from main operating bases of Royal Air Forces Mildenhall and Lakenheath.

“The activation of the (new wing) will provide USAFE with a wing of functional experts dedicated to the support of U.S. Air Force’s geographically separated units in the United Kingdom,” said Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAFE commander.

Previously, separated units in the United Kingdom, including bases in Fairford, Croughton, Alconbury, Molesworth and Menwith Hill, reported to the 38th CSW at Sembach Annex, Germany.

“A new wing in (England) makes sense,” General Foglesong said. “It further streamlines and focuses the GSU support functions in England and places them under a (United Kingdom-) based wing commander.”

The wing will have a group structure underneath it that right sizes the rank and management oversight of all the units in the United Kingdom, said Col. Blake Linder, the wing’s commander.

“This is a tremendous day for the 501st CSW,” he said. “It’s both exciting and historic.”

During the ceremony, the 420th Air Base Group was realigned, while the 422nd and 423rd Air Base Groups were activated, with their subordinate squadrons unfurling new guidons and passing them to new commanders.

This change will provide a more proximate advocate to address support-related issues and a structure to focus on solutions for regional matters that affect GSUs, General Foglesong said.

A command staff of about 30 people will be located here, but the general said that there will be no change to the way GSUs operate day to day.

“It’s just a smarter way of conducting business and serving our customers better,” General Foglesong said. (Courtesy of USAFE News Service)

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