USVF and UKAF come together to honor fallen service members

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ryan Walsh
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Remembrance Day is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by brave men and women who have fought for our freedom. It is a day to reflect on the courage and selflessness of those who have served our country and to honor their memory. This year, members of the U.S. Visiting Forces stood alongside members of the U.K. Armed Forces to pay their respects to service members of both nations, a testament to the enduring bond between our two countries.

The longstanding partnership and shared heritage were exemplified as over 150 U.S. service members supported 74 separate ceremonies across the United Kingdom during Remembrance Day weekend.  US participation included members of the 48th Fighter Wing, 100th Air Refueling Wing, 352nd Special Operations Wing, and 501st Combat Support Wing.  Together, with U.K. Armed Forces’ service members, community leaders, and members of the local communities, they paid homage to those who lost their lives in the line of duty through services, parades, and laying wreaths at dedicated memorials.

In Bury St. Edmunds, Brig. Gen. Joseph L. Campo, Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing and U.S. Country Representative to the United Kingdom, and Col. Ryan J. Garlow, Commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing, along with other members of the 48 FW and 100 ARW, participated in the laying of wreaths at the Angel Hill memorial followed by a church service at St. Mary’s Church. The RAF Lakenheath Honor Guard marched with British military personnel in the Remembrance parade that transitioned the ceremony from the memorial to the church, where hundreds gathered to pay respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Just outside the gates of RAF Mildenhall, Col. Aaron River, Commander of the 100th Maintenance Group, stood with Sqn Ldr Andy Bell, Royal Air Force commander, to hand off poppy wreaths to British Army Cadets and render a salute to honor fallen service members during the Remembrance Sunday parade. They shared in the two minutes of silence, to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of those the day is set aside for.

Though many of these memorials and ceremonies have been the chosen sites and traditions for many years, old stories continue to come back to light and find their place on the solemn day of remembrance. One such example was the site of a U.S. Army Air Corps B-17 Flying Fortress crash outside the village of Great Haseley in South Oxfordshire, England. The Great Haseley History Group had become aware of the crash that occurred on November 13th, 1943, and discovered that there was no memorial dedicated to the ten aircrew who lost their lives on that day. Funds were raised for a memorial to be erected in the village churchyard and was unveiled this past Remembrance Sunday. Several family members of the ten crew members traveled to be present for the ceremony along with Col. William C. Smith, Deputy Commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing, RAF Fairford.

Every day the U.S. and U.K. militaries work together to help provide peace and security throughout Europe. Remembrance Day serves as an important day that both nations can take pause and reflect on the shared history and sacrifice of service members during the wars and conflicts that have been fought together.