Yesterday, the Air Force announced their next closure list for Europe. The only thing of significance listed? The closure of RAF Mildenhall.
Mildenhall is a base that the US has had around since 1950. It's a mile or two outside of Bury Saint Edmunds.....maybe a ninety-minute drive northeast of London.
I went on temp-duty to the base on four occasions. For me, it was like walking out of a door....into the 1940s. Most buildings on the base were brick, and the landscaping was still you'd imagine from seventy years ago.
The best pub to go to? Near the front gate was the Bird in Hand pub. What you'd order was the Gammon-sandwich. I'd describe the Gammon as a big one piece of baked bread....as thick as a pineapple, and big slab of ham in the middle with some salad sauce over it. In brief, it was loaded with fat, calories, and bad stuff for your heart. It wasn't exactly cheap.....but if you ate one of these for lunch.....you were generally full for the next twelve hours.
Out the back-gate....at least back around 1993....there was this cafe which served breakfast. You'd get a heaping plate of your six essential fatty breakfast foods, with a big cup of coffee for roughly $8. The British as I learned....are rather gifted at knowing the foods which are bad for you and making them look delicious.
I generally always stayed at the on-base 'inn'.....a crappy place which I'd rate at a two-star. On one occasion, they put me up off-base.....at some no-name inn.....where in the midst of winter, I stepped into my room to find it pretty close to 32-degrees. It took six hours for that room to warm up to an acceptable level. The Brits are that way.....never wasting heat.
What they say is that they were spending $500 million a year on rent for three British installations, and they just quit those installations.....saving money by pushing some operations to Germany.
What becomes of RAF Mildenhall? It's hard to say. I think the locals are mostly in a state of shock and always thought it'd be the last place to close down. It would make a decent regional airport.....but they already have a couple. My guess is that it'll shut down and just be overgrown in five years.