War and Peace event highlights U.S, U.K. air forces anniversaries

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  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

War and Peace, an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and the 100th anniversary of the U.K. Royal Air Force, is scheduled from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum April 7.

The U.S. Air Force and the RAF have a long history together and have shared local ties since 2011 when the Department of Defense and the U.K. Ministry of Defense came to an agreement allowing the RAF to purchase three RC-135 aircraft.

Since then all RAF 135 aircrews have received initial qualification training at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska and both U.S. and U.K. members have flown together on missions downrange.

“Ever since early military aviators took to the skies in the first World War, British and American aircrew have been flying and fighting alongside each other,” said RAF Sqn. Ldr. Ade Pickup, a U.K. exchange officer and instructor pilot with the 338th Combat Training Squadron. “Now here in Omaha, both our nations’ air forces are working together on the highly successful Rivet Joint strategic reconnaissance program.”

Pickup said the British Embassy in Washington D.C. encouraged all RAF exchange officers in the U.S. to celebrate their 100th anniversary in some way.

“An event that celebrates the significance of both the U.S. Air Force’s 70th anniversary and RAF's 100th anniversary therefore seemed completely appropriate,” he said.

An RC-135V/W Rivet Joint flyover will officially kick off the celebration and then Pickup, along with fellow instructor pilot Maj. Noah Lazenby, will talk about their flight experiences and discuss strategic events in history which brought the U.S. Air Force and RAF together.

“The RAF and U.S. Air Force have a long, storied history flying and fighting together, as our nations do,” Lazenby said. “I believe it is important to recognize those relationships, shared sacrifices, and the ongoing cooperation between our great nations.”

The event will also feature a World War II reenactment surrounding the museum’s B-29 Superfortress as well as a Vulcan static display which will be available for attendees to tour.

The Vulcan is an iconic aircraft that epitomizes the RAF's involvement in the Cold War,” Pickup said. “A delta-wing high altitude strategic bomber with nuclear capability, it was a lynchpin of the U.K.’s deterrence mission from 1956 until 1984.”

In addition, there are numerous youth activities planned as welled, including a scavenger hunt.

With the RAF and U.S. Air Force celebrating major milestones nearly simultaneously, this is an opportune moment to highlight the achievements and trials overcome by each,” Lazenby said.

For more information on the event, please click here.