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too lengthly and otherwise unsuited for inclusion in the article, perhaps some tidbits might be used by some more objective editor to improve the article
I was stationed there in March 1981. While the base was home to the 11th Strategic Group, there were no permenently-stationed KC-135s there, but rather a constant rotation of tankers from CONUS bases. There were usually 15 there on temporary duty, usually a 90-day stay. They would arrive there with the air crew (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, boom operator) and one or two maintenance "crew chiefs". When I first arrived (3/81), the base had just recently come up to have 10 jets there, increasing to the full compliment of 15 in the Summer/Fall of 1981.
During the early 1980s, Fairford had the only Strategic Air Command (SAC) "Command Post" in Europe and was the "hub" of the "European Tanker Task Force." Jets and air crews were rotated out of Fairford to full-time commitments in Keflavik, Iceland, (1 jet to support scrambled interceptors) and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2 jets to support the AWACS).
Fairford was also one location of protests for those opposed to the deployment of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (there were to be put at nearby Greenham Common, where no Americans were yet stationed). I was arrested for (unknowingly) violating an order to avoid any contact with the protesters. The protesters were just a few dozen feet from Fairford's front gate when I stopped to chat - in full view of the gate guards. When I continued to the front gate, I was arrested. I was let off with a letter of reprimand "for using poor judgment" since it's pretty hard to prosecute someone for violating an order you don't know about. During most of my stay at Fairford (until Nov 1983), the airfield would normally "close" at a 10pm since the neighboring communities would not tolerate night flights on a routine basis. We would often divert late-returning flights to other airfields, such as Rota, Spain.
All-in-all, it was a great posting.
Enough reminiscing ... for now - --Samatva 01:50, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is that the base is still open. There are still two U-2s based there, so it cannot have fully closed. Does anyone have an update on the current situation?Garstonboy (talk) 21:33, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Longest runway in the UK. Bollocks is it! Heathrow has round 12,000ft on either runway and Manchester has over 10,000ft, to name but a few has 11,500ft. If we're talking about military installations only then MoD Boscombe Down and RAF Brize Norton both have runways that surpass the 10,000ft mark.
Heathrow does have the longest runway at 3,902m BUT Fairford's runway has about 400 of direct tarmaced run-off over and above the operationally stated figure (SIMILAR TO RAF Greenham Common when it was operational). The actual length of the runway is about 3,640m - still shy of Heathrow (which is the longest in the British Isles)--Timetrial (talk) 11:31, 15 May 2008 (UTC)