Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:42 UK

US Air Force to pull out of base

B-52 bomber at RAF Fairford
The base was home to US B-52 bombers during the Iraq war

The United States Air Force has announced plans to withdraw from RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire with the loss of about 100 civilian jobs.

The plan is to pull out all uniformed staff from the base by September 2010, after which it will be run on a "care and maintenance" basis.

At present there are 220 authorised UK civilian posts at the base.

RAF Fairford will remain a designated standby base, capable of immediate reactivation within 24-48 hours.

The airbase became the focus of a number of large anti-war protests in the run-up to the conflict in the Gulf.

People in Fairford react to the news that the US Air Force is to pull out of RAF Fairford

B-52 bombers flew sorties from the base during the war with Iraq.

Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Armed Forces, said in a letter to the Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: "Work is ongoing with the US to identify the exact nature of these posts and some of them are likely to be vacant already.

"However, the MoD will of course provide full support to the personnel affected by these plans in identifying and securing, where possible, alternative employment opportunities within the Civil Service."

In a statement the MoD said: "RAF Fairford will retain its status as both a NATO designated standby base and USAF Forward Operating Location, capable of immediate reactivation should the operational situation demand (within 24-48 hours).

"The base will also continue to support the Royal International Air Tattoo and RAF exercises."



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SEE ALSO
RAF base holds training exercises
04 Feb 09 |  Gloucestershire
B-52s head home from RAF Fairford
24 Apr 03 |  Gloucestershire
Thousands in anti-war protest at base
22 Mar 03 |  England
Man in court over B-52 protest
11 Mar 03 |  England

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