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Local training flight includes special passenger

  • Published
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

A standard RC-135 training mission was flown here June 29, much like any other day.

However, this 338th Combat Training Squadron flight was unique as one of its crew members was none other than Hugh Trenchard, a very special teddy bear who is an honorary member of the British Royal Air Force.

Named after Sir Hugh Trenchard, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, the founding father of the British Air Force, Hugh has been flying on aircraft all across the U.S. this year to commemorate two major milestones. The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force while the U.S. Air Force celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

“Having Hugh fly on the RC-135 with us was great,” said RAF Squadron Leader Ade Pickup, an exchange officer with the 338th CTS. “I’m pleased that I can be a part of the Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary celebrations while posted away from the U.K. and it’s also a great way of celebrating our relationship with the U.S. Air Force as it marks its own 70th anniversary.”

With permission from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and RAF Chief of the Air Staff, Hugh has flown on multiple aircraft during his journey across the states, including the F-22, F-16, C-17 and an historic Stearman biplane.

In fact, Hugh even has his own official aircrew flying log book to record his exploits, which will eventually become a historical artifact and be donated to the RAF Museum in the U.K.

“With our air refueling mission with a KC-135 from McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, Hugh has something new and interesting to put in his logbook,” Pickup said.

While Hugh’s mission at Offutt is now complete, the RAF’s is not.

The U.S. Air Force and the RAF exchange officer program is scheduled to continue for many years and the 55th Wing is also the home of all RC-135 flight deck and some mission crew training for the RAF.

“The exchange officer program…strengthens our [two country’s] relationship…and is particularly special because the RAF now owns three RC-135 aircraft of its own,” said Pickup, who recently qualified as an RC-135 instructor pilot.

“It’s great to feel like I’m making a difference to both the RAF and U.S. Air Force capabilities by training the pilots of the future,” he added.