raf banner
stories and rememberances

  • I arrived at RAF Mildenhall in April 1976 after graduating from Environmental Health Technical Training at Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Texas. The first 'culture shock' was driving on the left side of the road on the long drive to RAF Bentwaters. My first sighting of the base was the group of old quonset huts on either side of the road near the main gate. I met my first sergeant and was off to the Clinic. Everything after that was totally wonderful. I fell in love with the beautiful countryside immediately. I remember going to the base club for my 19th birthday soon after arrival. After meeting co-workers and other acquaintenances during the next several months, I was taken on my first pub into Woodbridge Town. I had three pints of that lovely, smooth drink...GUINNESS!! I love that drink even today, although when I got back to the barracks after my first taste of the 'motor oil', I thought I was going to die!! I spent three and one-half years at the Bentwaters Clinic. It was my first AF assignment and it ranks up there a close second to a subsequent tour at the base hospital at RAF Lakenheath. Almost everyone in that Clinic got along extremely well. We all had several pub crawls together, and even had a large Halloween Party at Gleveringham Hall in Wickham Market in 1978. That party was a blast, aside from the small fight that broke out!! It was a sad day when my wife (Pamela Keeler) and our young son (Jeremy) had to leave. We longed to get back as soon as we could. I have since divorced and remarried, and my wife Joyce (Micki) and our Brandon plan on retiring in Suffolk, more than likely in Bury St. Edmunds where my three 'kids' from my previous marriage still live with their mother. Not one day goes by without me thinking about that beautiful country of England. I love America, but in my eyes it doesn't match the serenity of East Anglia. My heart will always be British!! Cheers to you all... Jeffery Reichert...5/24/99

  • (Cont'd)We all said to ourselves when we first got to RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge "what the heck have I done?" Woke up late because of the electrical difference and our american alarm clocks. Turned into the wrong lane there. Then did it again in the states. Wondered if the sun would ever come out. Waited for a cab at jj's while we listen to the dispatcher worke the radio to death. Went to the bowling lanes or rod and gun club to pretend that we was at home in the states. Drove through thick fog at 0300 hrs to report for exercises. Had a television and watched it with out the tv tax paid. Ate fish and chips from Woodbridge. Painted something somewhere on the base. Had cookout's and tried to make them like back home. Called our parents at 0200 hrs...their time, oops. Put at least one quarter in the slot machines. Went to "black beard" for the ultimate 35-10 hair cut (barber on Woodbridge). Found out that the British didn't eat or serve corn. Most of us tried a pint of lager. Was wet and cold to the bone. Took the tube around London. Discovered the North Sea was always cold. Wanted to get a closer look at the follies. Got jacked up for not knowing your sns backward during exercise. Learned how to throw darts and how to score a hundred and twenty. Stopped to watch a A-10 do it's stuff, and wish it could be you flying. Went Christmas shopping in Ipswich for people back home. Had best buddies. Missed our turn and went around and around the round-a-bouts. Watched Monday Night Football...the game played last week, and then only the plays that got yards. Reported for flu shots (some of us did). Discovered how to smoke while wearing a gas mask (those that smoked). Ran over a hedgehog and a pheasant (accidently). Discovered that the gas mask glasses just didn't work. Had some great shop cookout's. Wondered if people really lived in those Quonset huts. Some of us burned the floor up at Woody's NCO Club on RAF Woodbridge. Some of us drank more fluids than we really needed at Woody's. Some of us made a Brit sick with our ice tea. All of us tried hot tea. Ran the dreaded mile and a half. Saw the people on the other side of the fence taking pictures of our airplanes and wondered??? Ate salt and vinegar crisps. At least once, most of us wondered who the hell was opening our milk up every morning (birds). Shot a box of shells at the Rod and Gun Club. Went to an air show. Rode a bicycle on a day trip. Was short and counting. Took one last look at the base and thought you would never really care about it all again. Felt sorry for those left behind. Wondered how they felt when they were short and counting. Lost touch with it all. John Vest...7/29/99

  • Do you airmen from the early 60's tour remember that night parking in Ipswich Town required a white light facing front and red facing rear. Beat running down the battery by having a 'bobbie light' plugged into cigarett lighter and for all night a 'hurricane lantern' with one half of glass painted red with a small chain attached to the car (toward middle of road). How many mornings did I get into my Ford at curbside (LHD) and drive off with lantern attached? Time to buy a new Lantern. Jim Tansey...7/29/99

  • While stationed at RAF Bentwaters I was always looking for extra money so I could take a trip to Cornwall to visit relatives. What I didn't under stand was why the black guys wanted to pay me good money to pull night time guard duty at that old Air Force Base. But I wanted the money so I pulled there guard duty for them. Just after dark the local guys would be coming home from the pubs and they knew that there was a guard on duty. So they would stop and talk about the base during the 2nd war and how the Germans bombed the heck out of the base. Then they would get on with telling about how many lost there lives on the base. They sure love to tell there stories about the air men that still walks the base all night long looking for there buddies, If you listen very hard you could hear the air men calling out there buddies names, talking to each other, walking in the old huts, slamming the doors, opening the windows, and if you look hard you will see the white shadows floating in the breeze. After they left . Yes I did hear talking, I did see movements out in the night, Yes I did have to walk around that old black hanger out in the middle of know where. Yes I was very scared, Old wind up telephone that was hooked up to the Air Police office on Bentwaters, No they would not come out and bring me coffee, So I sat and listen very carefully for the sounds, Listen to the doors, window creek in the wind. But next weekend I would be back out there. I must have made friends with the ghost as none of them ever bothered me at all. It is a mazing what a guy can see in the night and hear when you are all by yourself and scared stiff of the unknown. Gordon C Rogers...12/10/99

  • In late 1969, I don't remember the month, probably November, I was at work and walked into the latrine an there was the guy that worked in the orderly room. I can't remember his name, but he came to RAF Bentwaters in the summer of 67, just about the time i got there. Anyway, he was washing out a coffee cup with a toilet brush. He would dip the brush in the toilet an then in the cup. I asked him what he was doing an he said: "I came here in 1967. The first day at work that (&$&&*(#%^ Boman handed me his coffee cup an told me to wash it out an get him a cup of coffee. I've been doing just that with this toilet brush and this toilet ever since". If you remember Capt Boman, you will understand an probably enjoy the story. The story is true, and I am 95% sure the captains name was Boman, but cannot remember the orderly room clerks name at all. I have enjoyed telling that story to a lot of people over the years. Someday I hope to see the captain again so I can tell it to him direct. Rick Billings...12/14/99

  • Just a 'Few' Things I Remember: RAF Bentwaters: 1982-1984, 81st TFW, 81st AGS, 509th AMB/AMU Pirates, Avionics Specialist/Crew Chief (A-10A Tail No. 1953). Really enjoyed my tour and all the friends that I made, should never have PCS'd to Travis AFB (1984-1985). I created the 509th (skull and rose) stencil that we used to spray on the A-10's Pave Penny Station. It started all the rage of squadron markings which ended up with the horizontal stripes (in squadron color) at the top of the vertical stabilators. The outragous TDY's. Enjoyed living off base in Laxfield at the Royal Oak Cottage. My local pubs the Royal Oak, Laxfield, too, the Kings Head (the Low House). Learned about Adnams Bitter at the Cross Keys in Aldeburgh. Enjoyed my 1972 brown Rover (TPV 192K) but not the Black Ice. Beating dayshift to the Airmans Club on Friday nights when I was on swingshift. Drinking pints with Ron Witt (of Witt Nurseries, Stradbrooke) at the Framlingham Crown during Market Day (Sat.), while his son Roger tended the stall. Parking in a country lane on a weekend night with Jane from the Taxi stand on base (need I say more). "Come On Eilene" I Could go on for ever! RAF Mildenhall: 1985-1990, 313th CAMS, Enroute Maintenance, Avionics Specialist/Crew Chief/Maintenance Controller, C-5 A/B Galaxy, C-141B Starlifter, C-130 A-H Hercules aircraft, I just couldn't stay away! All the great people I use to work with over 'many' long hours (Kevin Nooyen, Ken Doffek, just to name a few). The way the base 'use' to look. My house in Weeting. CND demonstrations following the Libyan affair. How RAF Lakenheath USAF Regional Hospital ended my career through medical malpractice. I now work for Rockwell/Collins Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a Systems Integration Engineer. Contact me if you know me. Ricco Littrell (Ricardo)...12/20/99

  • SMSgt Ted and Cindy Hasen: (Cont'd)I had made a lot of British friends during my assignment there. When I got to RAF Bentwaters I started commuting by train between Ipswich, London & liverpool every weekend. Feb 1954 they asked me if I would mind being reassigned to RAF Shepherds Grove nr Bury St Edmunds and take over the Parachute Shop there. I was single, what the heck. I was back in England and I was happy. By commuting to Livepool, I was still able to keep in touch with my girlfriends there. RAF Shepherds Grove was still attached to the 81st but a smaller than RAF Bentwaters. I soon made friends with a lot of people and I was still able to commute to Liverpool from Bury St Edmunds & London. Middle of 1954 I purchased a Morris Minor from a chap that was rotating. I was invited to be best man at a wedding in Eye and met Ron & Shirley Norman, 17 Gainsorough Rd, Felixstowe. He had a chimney sweep and window washing business. We became good friends and still are. I lost touch with Ron from 1957, when I was reassigned to Walker AFB, Roswell, NM. until May 1979. We go to England every year to visit our friends in Liverpool, Warrington & Staines, nr Heathrow. Our main base of operations is from Ron's house in Felixstow. 3/5/01

  • Dan Roberts: 81st SPS/LE, RAF Bentwaters, 1972 to 1974: Feeling part of something bigger than myself and having confidence in the great bunch of guys I worked with. My first hay fever attack while lying in the tall grass outside Framingham castle with crazy Lisa. The brilliant airman who robbed a fish and chips shop in Ipswich wearing his fatigues (complete with name tag). Driving my bright orange Sunbeam Alpine with no top and no windscreen between the base and Felixstowe in the winter. Driving those damned oversized Yank-tanks between bases with our weapons locked in the trunk. Driving my Mini to Wales on 3-day breaks to visit Judy. Swimming in Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve 1973, then finding out the tube had stopped running and trying to walk back to West Kensington with ice forming on my clothes. If some bloke in a Jaguar hadn't given me a ride I probably would have frozen to death. The Jones family at 10 Holland Road in Felixstowe who shared their Christmas dinner with me. Tolly Cobbold beer. Being angry that I couldn't get beer after returning to the States. I was still too young! The White Horse. Carefully cutting open mail parcels suspected to be IRA bombs and finding artificial flowers and such. Pulling security in those cold dark guard shacks during ORIs. The ghost at post 9. Having most of my civilian clothes stolen from the barracks laundry room the day before I went back to the World. That magnificent, meaty bacon shaped like a pork chop. Why don't we have that on this side of the pond? The white hats that made us such good night-time targets. TDY to Aviano. The stink when the farmers spread manure on the fields in the spring. Jeff the Bloke killing rabbits by various ingenious methods and not denting the population. Slamming the keyboard on that old manual typewriter to make 9 carbon copies of the desk blotter and incident reports. Long damp overcast winters followed by glorious, lush green springs. Lovely British girls in miniskirts. 03/06/04

  • go to new names page
    Please Click the postbox Below to E-Mail Us With Your Comments
    e-mail...E-Mail :)