Did You Know? (After searching for references of "81st SPS", this was found. . )
"Fr. Patrick O'Dea - Executive Director and Pastor, Newman Centre Catholic Mission at the University of Toronto
Fr. Pat was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, on April 16, 1951. He is the third oldest of six children. When he was seven years old, his family immigrated to Rochester, New York.
Following high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas. He was trained in the area of Security and Flight Line Communications, a division of the Security Police Forces which included law enforcement, flight line security, and ground-combat training. While the Vietnam War came to a conclusion within two years of his entry, he continued to fulfill his commitment with assignments at Griffiss Air Force Base (New York), a temporary assignment in Aviano, Italy, and the majority of his military service at RAF Bentwaters, England, where his division the 81st SPS won the honour of being named the best squadron in Europe."
Joseph Kennedy, the oldest of the Kennedy brothers and brother to the late President John F. Kennedy. . took off from RAF Woodbridge on his last fatal flight that killed him during WWII.
Source: 'Aphrodite: Desperate' mission by Jack Olsen, G.P. Putnam's and Son, Copyright 1970. Library of Congress Catalog Number 70-97083.) Also, see Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Biography.
RAF Woodbridge - Little Known Fact. .
Woodbridge was used as part of plan "APHRODITE" in WWII. Old B-17 bombers would be braced up, loaded with Nitro-starch, and flown radio-controlled against German submarine pens in France. If you really think about it, RAF Woodbridge was the place where they pioneered the ground-launched guided missile.
Thomas Hutchins, A/2C, member of the 81st SPS at RAF Bentwaters died of an accidental gunshot wound in 1970.
C-118 Crash at RAF Bentwaters . .
Joe Miraglia remembers a C-118 that crash landed at RAF Bentwaters on March 14, 1963. "We were sent out there after it was all over. I remember finding a piece of bone. I think the pilot was killed. That's all I remember. Maybe someone else has a better memory. I had the date written down on the photos.
In late 1962 - early 1963, a young A/2C Joseph Vialonga, "C" Flight Security witnessed at Bentwaters..
"As I recall the incident I was standing on the peri track* holding up traffic because a couple of 101's were inbound. I watched them as they turned base onto final approach with the landing aircraft flanked by his wing man. As the landing aircraft crossed over the numbers at runways end he was still about 75 feet in the air, flaps down, landing gear down, when he deployed his drag chute. Being a veteran of observing hundreds if not thousands of these aircraft landings I knew he deployed the chute way to soon, since this action usually coincides with the wheels touching down. When the chute deployed the nose went up and the aircraft went into a stall. The pilot immediately dropped the chute, went to full power and
lowered the nose. The problem was that the left wing had dropped and the aircraft began a slow turn and headed towards CSC and the Ops bldg.
At this point the pilot must have known he wasn't going to keep the plane flying so he ejected. He was only about 35-50 feet off the ground at this point with the aircraft in a slight turn, leftwing down about 10 degrees and the nose elevated 40 degrees or more in a classic stall. I recall him leaving the aircraft at an angle and only gaining about 20-30 feet of altitude. His problem was not the planes altitude because those ejection seats were designed to operate from almost ground level as long as the aircraft was straight and level. As he was in a turn he never got high enough off the ground and he hit the ground soon after ejecting. The sad thing was watching the chute deploy as soon as he hit the ground and settle over him. The aircraft went on to wipe out several cars in the ops parking lot, which probably slowed it enough to prevent it from demolishing the Ops bldg which had several pilots in it at the time. Instead it plowed into an empty hanger immediately next to the bldging and began to burn. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time was the fact that the aircraft had broken in two with the nose pointing almost straight up. Since the pilot was coming back from a fire range mission he had live shells in the cannon and these began to cook off. Since we didn't know at the time the rounds were going straight up, everyone in the area was flat on the ground as soon as they realized what was happening. I was taken from the runway guard post and placed on the crash site perimeter with orders to let NO ONE through.
Just my luck that here comes the dead pilot's wingman and I stopped him as instructed (not knowing who he was at the time). I informed him that no one was permitted into the area and the guy just freaked out. He began yelling that he was the wingman and he had to get in. So here was this captain getting in my face, me at the time a 20 year old A/2C who didn't know whether to shit or go blind with this maniac screaming at me. As I tried to explain to this hysterical man that I was following orders, a major from his wing heard the commotion and came over. Thankfully he took responsibility for the captain and took him into the restricted area. That's about it as well as I can remember. It's not the sort of thing one forgets. I guess the strangest thing was I was supposed to be working swings that day and the only reason I was on runway duty was because I was pulling extra duty for showing up late for guardmount the day before.
*peri track - was the perimeter road that ran along side the active runways that allowed motor vehicles to cross at the end of the runway
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A Cop & a Celebrity!?
Jon Patterson who was at the twin bases from 1982 to 1985 recalls "a good kid who had the makings of a fine police officer". The former Bentwaters SP he refers to is David Zayas. He was one of two fellas on his LE flight who went to the NYPD. David is also a part-time actor. "He's been in a couple of movies as a bit actor with some pretty big names, and had a major role in the HBO special about prison life called "Oz". You can imagine my surprise when I saw him on the screen."
P- 47D Crashes at RAF Woodbridge during World War II
Two P-47Ds crashed at RAF Woodbridge during WWII. The 1st crash landed on June 20, 1944. Aircraft piloted by Capt. George B. Peet of the 359th Fighter Squadron. The 2nd craft crash landed on August 1, 1944. Aircraft piloted by Capt. Robert C L'Heureux of the 360th Fighter Squadron.
" ..In a move partly based on economy considerations but also to bring the Voodoo closer to its proposed targets in the Soviet Union, before the last F-101C could be delivered, it was decided that TAC would transfer all of its single-seat Voodoo fighters to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing based at RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk. Here, the F-101Cs replaced the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak. A flight of seven F-101Cs were ferried nonstop from Bergstrom AFB to RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk in 11 hours 2 minutes on August 10, 1958.
The 81st TFW operated three squadrons, the 78th, 91st, and 92nd TFS. The mission of each of the 81st TFW Voodoos was to deliver a single tactical nuclear weapon onto a Soviet or Eastern European target in the event of war. It was generally understood that such an attack would probably be a one-way mission, and pilots were given extensive training in escape and evasion techniques which would be used once they had ejected behind enemy lines.. "