...from Fonthill Media
Title: HMS Hood
Author: Darren Willmin
Publisher: Fonthill Media
Military Aircraft have always been at the heart of my own fascination with military equipment, be they aircraft, AFVs or even ships. This new book by author Darren Willmin and Fonthill Media really hits the spot for me. Though it begins with the history of the USAF in Europe (USAFE) since way back in 1941, then at the airfields and aircraft that have brought us up to date, where now there are only 3 operational air bases for the USAFE in the UK, and one of these is only used as a stand-by site. The two remaining operational bases are RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, while the stand-by site is at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
In the chapter on Past Operational and Non-Flying Bases it includes the likes of Upper Heyford, where I remember seeing the F-111, Bentwaters & Woodbridge, the two bases in Suffolk with the A-10, and Alconbury where aircraft such as the Aggressor squadrons were were based, along with the TR-1A reconnaissance aircraft.
Now we have fighters such as the F-15 fighter and the F-15E Strike Eagle along with the HH-60H Pave Hawk helicopters while even the new F-22 Raptor has been deployed here. Meanwhile, Mildenhall hosts types such as the KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, RC-135 Reconnaissance variant, the Hercules C-130J variants and the unusual CV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor. The stand-by base at RAF Fairford is famously the home to Royal International Air Tattoo each year, it is the bomber which is often deployed to Fairford, such as the B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber) and vintage B-52. I particularly like the inclusion of all the support units involved at the different bases. Not just the flight crews and maintenance techs, but also family support, security units, logistics with vehicles such as the de-icing and Fire trucks, even a postal service and medical teams and facilities and more. All of these are accompanied by a simply superb collection of first class colour photos of the many aircraft in action. Either in flight along the Mach-Loop in Wales, to being serviced within the bases themselves.
I have my own memories of Mildenhall in particular, regularly attending their old Air Fete displays and, sitting in my parents garden at nearby Culford, and watching the (still) fabulous SR-71 Blackbird flying low over the house to turn onto the approach to landing at Mildenhall. To this day I find it difficult to take in that it is now long retired from service. This book though is fabulous. I have no hesitation is recommending it, and I am sure modellers will like it for detail while aviation enthusiasts will enjoy it all.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.