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East Anglian leaders honored at Spring Reception

  • Published
  • By Maj. Beth Kelley Horine
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
More than 70 British community and business leaders, elected officials and councillors, gathered at RAF Lakenheath's Eagles Landing club March 23 for the 48th Fighter Wing commander's annual Spring Reception. 

The annual event gives military commanders an opportunity to meet new community officials and thank local leaders for their support of the Liberty Wing during the previous year. 

"The reception gives us a chance to come together yearly with the community leaders who support the Liberty Wing year-round. It also allows us to meet some of the new faces -- both military and civilian, British and American," said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel, 48th FW commander. 

RAF Lakenheath takes community relations one step further throughout the year with the Honorary Commanders Program and the British American Committee, said Natalie Benge, 48th FW community relations advisor. 

Pairing each squadron and group commander with a British counterpart from the surrounding villages and towns helps reinforce positive community relations between the members of the public and the Liberty Wing, said Ms. Benge. The BAC further helps by fostering a positive environment for community relations to cultivate, encouraging an exchange of ideas, experiences and friendships between key leaders in the local civilian community and the RAF Lakenheath's military community, she added. 

On March 23 the Liberty Wing not only welcomed back 16 returning honorary commanders to base, but inducted seven new honorary commanders. The RAF Lakenheath gates also opened for local dignitaries, councillors, mayors and civic leaders, as well as BAC members, for the Spring Reception. 

"It's terrific to see how far our Anglo-American relations have come in just the past three years I've been associated with the base," said Colin Wills, BAC president and honorary commander to the 48th FW commander. "The BAC continues to expand with bigger and better events, and our honorary commander program is kicking off its third year, with 99 percent of Lakenheath units linked to a community leader." 

One of the upcoming community relations events, sponsored by the BAC, is the Medieval Banquet, April 14 at Kings College in Cambridge. The event promises an once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who attend, including authentic medieval food, entertainment, costumes and music. Tickets are £50 and are on sale now through the 48th Community Relations advisor at 01638-52-3145 or 48fw.cra@lakenheath.af.mil. If interested in becoming a part of the BAC or helping with future events, contact Ms. Benge for more information.