A very Sad Day

On Tuesday evening I watched with great sadness the local TV programmes as they reported on the breaking news that a USAF Helicopter had come down in the marshes of North Norfolk at Cley-next-the-Sea and that it was believed, sadly later confirmed, that the 4 crew on board may have died at the scene. It’s always very sad to watch such tragic accidents unfold on the TV and it certainly brings it home when you realise that it’s very possible in your community that a family may well get that dreadful knock at the door as a senior officer tells them that their loved one has died. In Lakenheath yesterday those I spoke to were not so much shocked as I think most of realise that the job that the American personnel at both RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall do is inherently risky, but one of sadness as the loss of 4 young lives and deep sympathy for their families.

Yesterday morning my phone rang as different media outlets were looking to get a sense of the feeling of our local community and I and others were asked to do the local TV channels Look East and Anglia Tonight to give that local perspective on the tragedy. I spoke about the close ties the local community have with base personnel many of whom live in our community, visit our local shops, pubs and restaurants and in the case of a couple of my friends often retire here when they leave the forces. In short that they play an important part in our community and I gave the example that on Remembrance Sunday as we march through the village to lay wreaths at our War Memorial the USAF provide an honour guard and senior officers then join us in our Remembrance Church service. Others who were interviewed spoke of their experiences of how the USAF and the airbases are a source of many local jobs and an integral part of how we live our lives here in our community.

Later in the day Look East’s Amelia Renaults called me and asked if I would do the Look East late bulletin live from RAF Lakenheath and we discussed the emerging story of live ammunition that has been scattered at the crash site, I said I would speak about that and it was agreed that I would do a live broadcast from RAF Lakenheath at 10.25 in the evening. In that broadcast I said that in my time as the County Council occasionally people have commented on the noise particularly at night of the various training exercises but rarely has anyone had safety concerns even though we realise they do carry live ammunition, bombs and missiles.  I went on to say said that is a testament to the professionalism and dedication you get a sense of when you met with anyone from the American Forces and the confidence we have in the high skill levels they develop during the various training exercises. Accidents are thankfully extremely rare do to the high levels of training they do undertake.

As I travelled home and prepared for today I wrote this blog and reflected on the sense of loss and how 4 families must now come to terms with losing a son, daughter, a husband, wife or partner and maybe their mum or dad and you come to realise what a serious job they do as a part of our defence. A very sad day.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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