American bases in Huntingdonshire set to close

RAF Molesworth

RAF Molesworth - Credit: Archant

Two American military bases in Huntingdonshire are to be closed, an announcement this afternoon is expected to say.

The Pentagon will reveal RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth will be transferred back to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, according to American military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

It forms part of the US military’s plans to reorganise its forces in Europe, which will save $500million annually.

Operations at the two Huntingdonshire bases will be transferred to RAF Croughton, in Northamptonshire, as revealed in The Hunts Post last year.

The majority of staff, and many American-funded positions at the bases will be transferred to the new base.

RAF Mildenhall, home to Air Force special operations forces, air refuelling tankers and 3,200 military personnel, is also set to be closed and missions from the Suffolk base are expected to be carried out in Germany.

It is believed RAF Alconbury provided £40m to the Huntingdonshire economy.

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Councillor Jason Ablewhite, executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “This is an exceptionally sad day for Huntingdonshire; this announcement marks the end of a 72-year-long, strong and positive relationship with our American cousins.

“These closures will entail the loss of 760 personnel and 1500 civilian jobs and so the impact on the Huntingdonshire economy could be considerable.

“However, the Enterprise Zone is on the same site as RAF Alconbury, and will provide thousands of jobs over the coming years. Additionally, the development of the Joint Intelligence Forces Group at RAF Wyton could see an increase in the number of personnel and creation of civilian jobs.

“Huntingdonshire District Council will continue to support sustainable growth and employment opportunities.”

Richard Howitt MEP said: “I am saddened by the RAF Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth closures being announced today and have always appreciated the courtesy of USAF personnel.”

More to follow.