RAF Lakenheath hosts 23 nations during Vienna Document visit

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher S. Sparks
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 48th Fighter Wing hosted more than 40 delegates from 23 nations for a visit as part of the Vienna Document 2011 agreement Sep. 24.

The Vienna Document 2011 is a politically binding agreement, designed to build confidence and security-building measures to increase openness and transparency concerning military activities for participating nations.

“The Vienna Document Combat Air Base Visit to RAF Lakenheath is the largest arms-control event that the U.S. will host this year,” Dr. Charles J. Ball, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control said. “This visit in itself is a confidence and security building measure and is a foundation of European security. We will continue to work to foster transparency and stability within the region.”

The focus of the visit was to enhance the understanding of U.S. combat air wing capabilities through a variety of information exchanges and mission observations.

“These visits provide the chance for our Vienna Document signatories to experience a typical “day-in-the-life” at a U.S. air base and most importantly to communicate with commanders and Airmen on a direct level,” Taylor Kunkle, Headquarters Air Force senior arms control analyst said. “It is through such interactions that we all gain a better understanding of the unique and common challenges we face.”

Delegates visited various facilities and an F-15E Strike Eagle, to include watching a weapons-load demonstration, firefighting scenario and a flying demonstration. During the tour, delegates also interacted with Liberty Wing Airmen from various career fields.

“It’s a rare opportunity for me to meet military members from other countries,” Senior Airman Brent T. Spencer, 48th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment journeyman said. “Having a chance to describe my job to them and how the squadron contributes to the wing mission makes me proud to be in the U.S. Air Force.”

The 48th FW mission is to provide worldwide responsive combat airpower and support, and is home to the F-15 Eagle and F-15E Strike Eagle.

“As home to the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa F-15 fighter wing, RAF Lakenheath is a critical generator of combat airpower and we are proud to demonstrate our capabilities to visiting delegates,” Col. William Marshall, 48th FW commander said.

The U.S. is working with Vienna Document signatories as part of a large, unified global effort to build capacity and defeat common threats to security and stability in the region.