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RAF bases keeping moral high as team becomes 999 responders

PUBLISHED: 12:01 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:01 01 May 2020

A child of a U.S. Air Force Airman colors a picture of a rainbow at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte

A child of a U.S. Air Force Airman colors a picture of a rainbow at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte

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RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall staff have been showing support to NHS workers with special messages and rainbows in their windows.

Warrant Officer Karl Phillips; RAF Honington Co-Response Team Leader. Picture: RAF HoningtonWarrant Officer Karl Phillips; RAF Honington Co-Response Team Leader. Picture: RAF Honington

It follows messages of support from the surrounding communities for those on our frontlines.

Col. Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, said: “As you can imagine, our Airmen and families are experiencing hardships, but attitudes remain positive and Team Liberty continues to take care of each other.

“Health protection for our force at the 48th Fighter Wing is our top priority and we are committed to doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, while continuing mission operations. Despite this pandemic, we have to ensure the Liberty Wing remains ready to respond to any threats to our national security.

“I cannot overemphasize our appreciation for those professional working the frontlines to combat COVID-19, and the collaborative relationship between our 48th Medical Group and the National Health Service.”

RAF Honington Co-Response Team. Picture: RAF HoningtonRAF Honington Co-Response Team. Picture: RAF Honington

At RAF Honington the co-responder team has received two double staffed ambulances so it can assist the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAT)

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Following training six members of the team are now working directly in support of the NHS.

Team leader, WO Karl Phillips, said: “The training provided by professional clinical trainers from EEAT was superb.

A child of a U.S. Air Force Airman displays artwork in their window in Liberty Village at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Airman 1st Class Jessi MonteA child of a U.S. Air Force Airman displays artwork in their window in Liberty Village at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Picture: Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte

“These people worked exceptionally hard to ensure we received the very best theoretical and practical training available in order to properly prepare us for the task. This was further enhanced by Covid-19 specific training, including PPE, hospital handover procedures and emergency transfer protocols.”

RAF Honington now has a range of experienced personnel that are blue-light rapid response vehicle driver qualified.

WO Phillips joined the scheme in 2003 and as an experienced response driver has amassed thousands of hours of volunteering and responding to 999 calls.

He joined the RAF Honington co-response team in 2016 and has been the team leader since 2018.

He said: “I am extremely proud of my team and we, collectively, are equally as proud to operate alongside EEAST in assisting the NHS in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, I am appreciative of my team’s line managers for supporting their respective troops whilst they undertake this role; however, most importantly, I would like to thank the families of our responders. Their support for their loved ones is deeply appreciated and is vital to the continued effort.”


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