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Fast Facts

 Defender Park at RAF Lakenheath

Location: Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Lakenheath, Suffolk, United Kingdom, is located 70 miles northest of London and 25 miles from Cambridge. The closest town is Lakenheath village which is located two miles from the base. RAF Mildenhall and Mildenhall village are approximately seven miles away. RAF Feltwell and the village of Feltwell are approximately eight miles away. RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing. RAF Lakenheath homepage.

Cost of Living: The United Kingdom is a high cost of living area for the military. Personnel should be prepared to defray added expenses not normally found in the States, i.e., television license and road tax.

Base Operator: 011-44-1638-521110, or DSN 314-226-1110

Population: RAF Lakenheath consists of approximately 5,500 active-duty military members, 2,700 British and U.S. civilians, and includes geographically separated units at nearby RAF Feltwell.

Airman & Family Readiness Center: The RAF Lakenheath Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) conducts a 3 day Wing In-Processing workshop. Wing In-processing is a mandatory function which must be completed before down time is authorized. Members are to in-process their unit and then report to A&FRC to receive Wing In-Processing instructions. All members are expected to begin Wing In-Processing the first duty day on/after arrival. Please note that during this time the A&FRC will be considered your place of duty.

The A&FRC offers an array of specialized programs and services aimed at enhancing the quality of life for military members and their families throughout the military life cycle. Services are provided in the form of group workshops and individual appointments.

For more information please call 011-44-1638-52-3847 (DSN 314-226-3847).

Lodging: Make temporary lodging arrangements as far ahead of your arrival as possible. Due to the high volume of personnel in the area, TLF fills up quickly, particularly during high PCS season. It is possible that individuals and families may be required to stay off base during these times. If you are issued a non-availability letter, contact your sponsor for assistance in making a hotel reservation in the local area. The Lodging Reservations Office can also provide a list of recommended accommodations in the local area.

For more information or for reservations call 011-44-1638-526700 (DSN: 314-226-6700).

Unaccompanied Members: Unaccompanied Housing is provided for unaccompanied Airmen in the ranks of E-1 to E-3 and E-4 with less than 3 years of service. Each Airman is provided a private sleeping room, furnishings, bed linens and supplies required for comfortable living.

Housing: The Main Housing Office (HMO) is located in Bldg 429 at RAF Lakenheath. Members must report to Housing within 5 duty days of arrival. Government housing is provided to military members who meet the appropriate criteria. This includes:

  • Members with dependents authorized to reside with them
  • Military-Married-to-Military couples assigned to same or adjacent base and reside jointly

If you desire to live in government housing, please submit an advance application for assignment, DD Form 1746, through the HMO at your losing installation with a complete copy of your PCS orders. The effective date of the application is the date you depart your prior installation (including members with TDY en route) or the date ordered to active duty. Applications can also be submitted upon arrival at the Housing Office. For assistance or more information please call 011-44-1638-52-2000/2804 or 226-2000/2804. Applications can also be submitted upon arrival during your first visit to the HMO.

Off-Base Housing: The communities surrounding Lakenheath and Mildenhall offer a number of affordable and beautiful rentals for those seeking off-base housing. Housing within close proximity to the base is primarily detached (single house), semi-detached (duplex) and terraced (in rows). British houses are generally smaller with narrow hallways/doorways and kitchens that typically do not accommodate U.S. specific appliances.

If you are bringing pets, or plan on buying a pet while in the UK, please be advised that some landlords may require additional, upfront payment from you as a security deposit in the event of damage incurred. This may cost you anywhere from an additional 100-500 pounds sterling.

Personal Property Insurance - You need to obtain legal liability and personal property insurance for your possessions and should choose the options and amounts that best fit your needs and lifestyle.

Driving Guidelines: Drivers MUST have a 3rd Air Force driver's license to operate a vehicle on base and to obtain fuel from the base service station, as well as the service stations at other USAF bases in the U.K. Driving in the U.K. is a privilege, not a right. All personnel assigned to RAF Lakenheath who require driving privileges:

  • Must take the 3rd Air Force Driver's Training class within 15 days of arrival and pass the written exam
  • Must have a valid U.S. driver's license (not provisional or restricted)
  • Must possess the 3rd Air Force driver's license to operate a vehicle on base
  • Must be 17 years old or older

All active duty members and dependents must attend the driver's briefing during in-processing with the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. The exam will be administered during that time. Members must study The British Highway Code book online.

Child Development Centers:

The RAF Lakenheath Child Development Centers (CDC) offer an outstanding developmental program for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years and is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The CDC's curriculum is based on the belief that children learn best by doing, actively thinking and experimenting through purposeful play in a planned environment. It is designed to provide experiences in language, mathematics, motor skills, creativity and social and emotional growth. The program also offers well-balanced, child-oriented meals.

Availability

Members desiring permanent long-term care will need to put their child's name on the waitlist. Wait times vary between 0-12 months.

Registration

Members can place their child(ren) on the CDC waitlist prior to their arrival at RAF Lakenheath by logging on to the website. There, you can create an account and add your child/ren to the waitlist for the program. For more information contact the CDC at 011-44-1638-525818 or DSN at 314-226-5818.

For more information please contact CDC East at 011-44-1638-523285 (DSN 314-226-3285) or CDC West at 011-44-1638-525812 (DSN 314-226-5812).

Child Care for PCS: Air Force Aid Society pays for up to 20 hours of care per child in licensed AF FCC homes on base. Families with PCS orders must get a Child Care for PCS certificate at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. The certificate must be used within 60 days of arrival. For more information contact Airman and Family Readiness Center at 011-44-1638-523847 (314-226-3847)

Schools: RAF Lakenheath/Mildenhall/Feltwell School Complex has five schools with approximately 2,500 students. They are all Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS).

On RAF Lakenheath, there is Lakenheath Elementary School, which is Kindergarten through 3rd Grade; Liberty Intermediate School, which is 4th and 5th Grades; and Lakenheath High School, which is 9th through 12th Grade.

On RAF Feltwell (which is 11 miles from RAF Lakenheath), there is Feltwell Elementary School, which is Kindergarten through 5th Grade, and Lakenheath Middle School, which is 6th through 8th Grade. Also located at RAF Feltwell is the Isles District Superintendent's Office and the School Bus Office.

Parents may pre-register their child/ren for DODDS at http://www.dodea.edu/Europe/enrollment/index.cfm.
Parents, enrolling students are required to furnish the following:

  • Proof of sponsor's overseas status (Orders, verification of employment etc.)
  • Proof of sponsor/dependent connection (Child listed on orders, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Proof of a new DEROS as applicable
  • Tuition paid in advance if applicable
  • Verification of minimal age requirement for Sure Start, Kindergarten and 1st-grade students (PCS Orders, Birth certificate or passport)

Note: Children entering Sure Start, Kindergarten, First Grade must be 4,5 and 6 years old respectively on/before September 1.

Also required: (The below documents ARE required but will not keep students from starting school.)

  • Immunization records
  • Copy of previous school records, including report cards and other academic records such as reading and math records (as applicable)
  • Copy of standardized test scores if applicable
  • Copy of Individual Education Plan (IEP) if applicable
  • Transportation - Student transportation within DoDDS is provided based on pre-determined areas. When you register your child for school, you will be provided a school bus registration form. All students must be registered at the appropriate school bus office, as well as at the school, prior to being assigned a bus stop location. Since driving in the UK is very dangerous, we have initiated strict School Bus Misconduct Penalty Guidelines to better ensure the safety of our children.

British Schooling: British school admissions are handled by the county in which you reside. The School Liaison Office works closely with Suffolk, Norfolk, and Cambridgeshire counties to offer families general information on the British school admissions process and ongoing support.

You can find additional information for each of the counties by clicking on the links below:

The School Liaison Officer (SLO) acts as a community facilitator; connecting schools, families, and community services to address education issues impacting military children. No matter where military service takes our families the SLO is there to help make a positive school transition. For school questions relating to your inbound or outbound transition or issues that arise during your assignment, please contact the RAF Lakenheath/Mildenhall School Liaison Office.

School Liaison Office: DSN 314-226-5077/5078 or 01638 52-5077/5078. Email: 48msg.ccl@us.af.mil

Youth Programs: Lakenheath Youth Center provides opportunities for youth to develop their physical, social, emotional and cognitive abilities and to experience achievement, leadership, enjoyment, friendship and recognition. Programs provide a wide variety of services, instructional classes and activities for children 5 to 18 years of age including before and after school programs, full day camps during summer vacation and school holidays, youth sports and youth transition and support services.

Before and after School is designed for children in kindergarten to sixth grades. All activities are planned as an enhancement to the child's learning, with an emphasis on enhancing children's social and development skills.

For more information call 011-44-1638-525437(DSN 314-226-5437).

Employment: Like many other overseas locations, RAF Lakenheath is a challenging environment for spouses who are seeking employment outside the home. It is not uncommon for applicants to wait 6 months or longer to gain a job commensurate with their education and/or experience. Employment opportunities exist on base through local community banks, credit unions, AAFES, Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF), DECA, DoDDs, area contractors and the concessionaires at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall.

48 Force Support Squadron: The 48th Force Support Squadron provides the very best in quality of life initiatives, programs, events, and activities to the Lakenheath community. Providing the best in customer service to the Lakenheath community is not just a saying, but a way of life. Our goal is to deliver the best in morale, welfare, and recreation to support our mission, Airmen and families. For information about all 48 FSS services visit our website or find us on Facebook.

Financial Institutions on base: Community Bank and Keesler Federal Credit Union

Medical Services: The 48th Medical Group (48 MDG) at RAF Lakenheath provides general and specialized medical services to more than 700 military and civilian members.

Most clinics are open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, but are closed on weekends, holidays and down days. The Emergency Department is open 24/7.

To schedule an appointment contact Central Appointments at 011-44-1638-52-8010 (DSN 314-226-8010).

Travel Documentation: Visit your Military Personnel Office to obtain Government Fee-Paid Passports for your family members; these passports allow them to travel to and from the overseas location.

You are also encouraged to obtain fee passports because the No-Fee passports WILL NOT allow entry into some European countries. To travel freely within Europe you and each family member should obtain a Tourist passport at your own expense.

Shipping Your Pets: Pets are an important part of your family. Bringing a pet into the UK can be a daunting task, but far from impossible. Pets can now enter the UK from select countries after they have been processed through the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). In order to successfully transit your pet into the UK, you must read, understand and follow the rules of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

For more information you may also contact the RAF Feltwell Veterinary Clinic at DSN 314-226-7097 or Comm 011-44-1638-527097.

Explore the links to the left for in-depth information.

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