Pictured: Ex-US airbase RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk

RAF Woodbridge was first constructed in 1943 to repair fighter planes that were returning from bombing raids on Hitler’s Germany.

Because it was designed for struggling planes to land on, the runways were built with extra-long runways – just like fellow repair sites RAF Manston in Kent and RAF Carnaby in Yorkshire.

Following the end of the Second World War, tensions between America and the Soviet Union began to rise after the publication of the Truman Doctrine, a policy document pledging to aid all countries threatened by the USSR’s expansion across eastern Europe and Asia.

RAF Woodbridge was offered to the United States Airforce in 1952, with President Harry Truman seeking to expand its military presence across America’s western European allies as tensions with the Soviets increased.

The 79th Fighter-Bomber Squadron were the first from the US to use the airfield, taking to the skies on October 1 of that year.

Woodbridge was operated as twin base with RAF Bentwaters, also in Suffolk, and as a single unit with Bentwaters under the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing.

The first A-10 Thunderbolt was deployed from Woodbridge in 1979, which led to an expansion of the 81st TFW was expanded. 

For more than 50 years US planes were stationed in Suffolk, and USAF presence at Woodbridge was gradually phased down following the end of the Cold War and the disbanding of the USSR.

The 81st TFW was officially inactivated on 1 July 1993.

It has now been split into two sections, Woodbridge Airfield and Rock Barracks – the former is used for training exercises despite its dilapidated state and the latter is home to a Royal Engineers regiment.

Woodbridge is also open to the public for track days for cars, but the Ministry of Defence announced in November the site would close in 2027.

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