JULY 12, 2018, Royal Air Base Lakenheath – Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, accompanied by her husband, Jay Hone, visited the Liberty Wing, July 11, 2018.
On her first trip back to Royal Air Force Lakenheath as the 24th SecAF, Wilson met with Airmen from across the base, learning what it takes to make the mission happen every day and saw how 48th Fighter Wing personnel are innovating by streamlining processes and reducing redundancies.
“I always like to spend some time with Airmen, learning more about what they do, how they do it and the challenges they face,” said Wilson.
With the imminent arrival of an F-35A Lightning II fleet to the base, the Secretary had the opportunity to view first-hand what it will take to efficiently move a squadron of 5th generation fighters to the installation.
“It was great to gain a deeper understanding of what needs to be done in order to meet the F-35 relocation and initial operational timeline,” said Wilson. “The base will get quite a transformation as we bring in those jets.”
During the culmination of her visit, Wilson held a town hall explaining how the Air Force is focusing on the fight of the future and the importance of the branch’s five major priorities: restoring readiness, completing cost-effective modernization, driving innovation, developing exceptional leaders, and strengthening U.S. alliances and partnerships.
“The 48th Fighter Wing is right out there with contact and blunt force for the United States and for our allies,” said Wilson. “Here at RAF Lakenheath, we have had a very close relationship with the UK since the Second World War. We are stronger together with our Allies and our partners and this base is a great example of it.”
In the end, the Secretary boiled her visit down to a few sentences.
“I just want to thank [our Airmen] for serving,” she said. “This is a great base and a great community, but still they serve far away from their loved ones to protect the rest of us. Each and every one of them is a volunteer so I really thank them.”
Story by Staff Sgt. Alex Echols
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs