Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, is located 70 miles northwest of London and 25 miles from Cambridge. The closest town is Lakenheath village which is located two miles from the base. RAF Mildenhall and Mildenhall village are approximately seven miles away. RAF Feltwell and the village of Feltwell are approximately eight miles away. RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing. The base operator’s phone number is 011-44-1638-523000, or DSN 314-226-1110.
The Army Air Corps activated the 48th Bombardment Group (Light) January 15, 1941. For the first two years of its life, as was the case with many of its sister units, the group and its squadrons underwent a series of re-designations and transfers to meet Air Corps operational needs. Designations changed from Bombardment Group (Light) to Bombardment Group (Dive) in September 1942, and again to Fighter-Bomber Group in August 1943. The squadrons were also re-designated as the 492nd, 493rd, 494th and 495th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons. The history of these squadrons leads to the squadrons that make up the 48th Fighter Wing of today. For more history visit Lakenheath’s homepage.
The 48th Fighter Wing’s leadership is responsible for training, supporting, and employing a combat fighter wing that includes one F-15C and two F-15E squadrons. The wing stands ready to provide responsive combat air power, support and services to meet our Nation’s and allies international objectives-anytime, anywhere, whatever needs to be done. The Major Command is the United States Air Forces Europe. USAFE is a component command of the United States European Command and a major command of the U.S. Air Force.
RAF Lakenheath consists of approximately 5,500 active-duty military members, 2,700 British, Icelandic and U.S. civilians, and includes geographically separated units at nearby RAF Feltwell as well as Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland.
There is a Base Shuttle service that operates on RAF Lakenheath. The service begins at 0430 and operates throughout the duty day. Times may vary due to heavy traffic at peak times of the day. Also, the Base Shuttle will not run on weekends, holidays or Wing down days.
Bus service to and from RAF Mildenhall Base run daily, including holidays. Pick up points at RAF Lakenheath are the Long Term Parking lot and in front of the Billeting Office, Bldg. 984. Base shuttle services are free. A current schedule can be obtained at the Billeting Office, or by calling 011-44-1638-544349,or DSN 314-238-4349.
If you are not contacted by a sponsor, request one and ensure your sponsor contacts you. They are the most valuable key you have to making a successful PCS move and especially critical in an overseas environment. If you have requested a sponsor and you have not been contacted within 30 working days, please contact the Commander’s Support Staff at your gaining unit. If you need assistance in obtaining a sponsor, contact your local Airman and Family Readiness Center or the RAF Lakenheath Airman and Family Readiness Center (011-44-1638-523847).
Once you receive your orders, you can get a Post Office Box. Send your sponsor a copy of your orders and he/she will then be able to secure a box for you. Your address will be: YOUR NAME, PSC 41, Box ____, APO AE 09464.
New arrivals will be met by their sponsors and checked-in at the Liberty Lodge. Your Sponsor will make your reservations in advance.
Contact the Lakenheath Airman and Family Readiness Center for Relocation Assistance. If you are calling from the U.S. to the United Kingdom (UK), the commercial prefix codes are 011-44- and then the commercial phone number. (Example – to call the Airman and Family Readiness Center dial 011-44-1638-523847). If you are calling from inside the UK, don’t use the 011-44-prefix. Instead, dial the area code 01638 then 523847. (Example: RAF Lakenheath Airman and Family Readiness Center–a call from the US would be 011-44-1638-523847; a call from within the UK would be 01638-523847). A DSN call from any base outside Europe will be 314-226-3847. Within the European area, simply dial 226-3847.
Critical Installation Information
Moving to and living in England can be expensive. One of your immediate concerns should be to assess your present financial status and then construct a spending plan based on anticipated expenses. Building a spending plan means knowing what your entitlements will be and what type of expenses you can expect when you arrive at you next duty location. Work closely with your sponsor to estimate anticipated expenses. Major items such as vehicle purchases, vehicle/home insurance, heating oil, utilities, rent, UK Road Tax and UK TV Tax, etc., should top your list. Additionally, depending upon your present financial situation, you may want to consider the following options:
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military members and their families. Therefore, as a last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Weapons in Public and UK Law
All sponsors arriving in country will sign a memorandum at Pass and Registration indicating their understanding and compliance with laws and regulations regarding weapons, weapon storage and weapon accountability.
Personnel may store their firearms and weapons in their government military family housing quarters provided the method complies with British law, and they register their firearms at 48 SFS Pass and Registration.
Unusually dangerous weapons other than firearms are defined as any item concealed on the person or carried which could be used to cause bodily harm to others, or are likely to make reasonable persons fear for their safety. These weapons must also be registered with Pass and Registration. This list is not all-inclusive. Examples include:
48 SFS Pass and Registration will be responsible for maintaining a current listing of all personnel who register any weapon on RAF Lakenheath. This listing will be available, either in hard copy at the Pass and Registration section, or electronically on the squadron shared drive so that security forces, other agencies or personnel reasonably needing it have access to the information.
Single Parents & Family Deployment Needs
We are all only too aware that deployments can come with short notice warnings and that it affects not only you but your family too. If you may need family to come and help, or if you are a single parent with a family care plan, you will most probably need a Special Needs Pass for a family member or care giver.
A Special Needs Pass has to be routed through several offices and if you wish them to have access to other bases such as Mildenhall or wish them to be able to shop for your children or use and fuel your vehicle it all takes time to accomplish – PLEASE do not leave this to the last minute it can take up to four weeks to gain depending on your needs and two extra weeks per additional base.
Please contact Pass & Registration (48 SFS/S5RP) and we will assist you to put everything in place as soon as possible. Please remember, it is YOUR responsibility to gain this in time. Family First!
Questions/Confused? Call on DSN 314-226-1853 or Comm 011 44 1638 521853.