AN AMERICAN colonel at RAF Alconbury has said he was overwhelmed by Huntingdonshire District Council’s decision to give his base the freedom of the district.

HDC has agreed to bestow the honour on the United States Airforce (USAF), which has airmen and women at both RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth, with a ceremony taking place in Samian Court, Pathfinder House, on April 20 when the Stars and Stripes flag will be raised.

The ceremony celebrates the role of the 423rd Air Base Group, which includes six squadrons and serves a community of more than 6,000 at the two bases, adding millions of pounds to the Huntingdonshire economy each year.

Col Michael Reiner, the 423rd commander, said: "This is a huge honour for us.

"When you look at the history of the freedom of the district, you will see that it is about trust and relationships. It goes back to a time when soldiers were not allowed in the town areas where they served and this shows the trust and relationship that we have built here."

The decision was made at a council meeting attended by the colonel, who said he was moved by the words of councillors.

Col Reiner said: "To hear all the councillors who stood up and made very complimentary remarks was truly overwhelming.

"We would like to thank the council for their kind gesture and we hope that this is merely a highlight of our continued trustworthy relationship."