Welcome to RAF Croughton, England, United Kingdom. RAF Croughton is located near Brackley, Northamptonshire, just 20 miles north of Oxford and 70 miles northwest of London. RAF Croughton is a warm and friendly base with extensive travel opportunities both in the UK and on the European continent. There is plenty to do, much to see, and lots to experience. You may contact the base operator at 011-44-1280-70-8000 or DSN 314-236-8000.
For more than 60 years, RAF Croughton has been an integral part of the Brackley community. From its formation in 1938 to the present day, the base has served several different roles. The Royal Air Force station was constructed in 1938 on 692 acres of land comprising three farms and named RAF Brackley. In July 1941 it was renamed RAF Croughton. During the Second World War Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders flew Hampdens, Blenheims and Wellington bombers from the base and consequently attracted the attention of enemy bombers throughout 1941. In August 1942 Croughton began training the Glider Pilot Regiment, an army unit that flew troop-carrying gliders, whose pilots fought alongside the troops they carried after landing. Flying ceased in May 1946 and the base was used to store ammunitions until the USAF took it over in January 1951. The geographical location of the base was ideal for the technological advances made in communications during the war, and the USAF saw the potential for RAF Croughton to be an effective and important communications center for the U.S. military in Europe. For more information visit the installation homepage.
RAF Croughton supports Presidential, NATO, European, and Central Command, operations with 23 communications and information weapon systems. The base provides 30% of all DOD communications between Europe and CONUS, and communication for deployed and en route war fighters. Supports functions which include Civil Engineering, Services, Logistics, Medical, and Security Forces. RAF Croughton is a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU) of the 501st Combat Support Wing.
RAF Fairford, is approximately 45-50 miles southwest from RAF Croughton. RAF Fairford has recently been downsized and will now be used primarily for deployment operations and exercises. Any personnel assigned to this base/working on the installation can use RAF Croughton for all of their available services. If you have any questions or needs, please contact the RAF Croughton Airman & Family Readiness Annex at DSN 314-236-8716 or 011-44-1280-70-8716.
There are several avenues for educating children while you are stationed at RAF Croughton, depending on the age of the child. Children in grades K-6 can attend the Department of Defense Dependents School, British School, or be Home Schooled. Children in grades 7-12 must attend a British School off base or be Home Schooled.
School Options at RAF Croughton are very unique. Personnel who have children in grades K-6 can attend the DoDDS School on the Installation. This school consists of a multi-age set-up, where more than one grade is taught in each classroom.
There is no DoDDS middle or high school available at RAF Croughton. Children in grades 7-12 must attend a local British School off base or be Home Schooled. If accepted to NDSP (NonDoD School Program), children can attend a private school or have home school with tuition, transportation, and other one- time fees covered by NDSP.
Children in the UK start school as young as three on either part or full time basis, and with the possibility of no cost to the parents. Children go full time at age four, at no cost.
School Registration at Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe (DoDDS-E) -- School Registration is an annual requirement by DoD Regulation to determine continued eligibility for school enrollment. Accurate and complete school enrollments assist principals and district superintendents in projecting appropriate resources to support the coming school year. School principals across Europe are working diligently to ensure the annual registration process is efficient and customer service oriented.
DoDDS-E Students can register in one of two ways:
DoDEA has changed its Early Child Hood Education programs entrance requirements for all DoD Schools for Calendar Year 2012-2013. Age requirement are:
If you have any questions about exceptions, contact DoDEA.
Buses contracted from local commercial companies provide school bus transportation. Registration for new students takes place year -round.
To enroll in the Free or Reduced School Lunch Program, complete an application and send it along with a copy of your MOST RECENT LES to the School Liaison Office. Applications can be turned in to the School Liaison Office located in building 201.
The School Liaison Office provides a focal point on the military installation for school support matters, assists the installation commander in accomplishing school support responsibility and liaison among the installation, school, and community. All off base school matters must be handled by the School Liaison Office. The School Liaison Office can be reached by calling DSN 314-236-8578 or Comm 011-44-1280-70-8578.
Installation Education Center
Located on RAF Croughton in Building 204. Office Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm.
The Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) provides partial tuition assistance for spouses of Active Duty airmen or officers, who accompany members to overseas locations and will be attending college programs at those overseas locations. The focus of the program is on the completion of degree or certificate programs that provide increased occupational opportunities for spouses. The program provides TA (Tuition Assistance) at a rate not to exceed 50% of unmet tuition charged per course, with a maximum of $1,500 per academic year and a term maximum, which is calculated by dividing the annual maximum ($1,500) by the number of terms within the academic year. For purposes of this program, "academic year" is defined as the 12-month period beginning August 1 through July 31 of each year. All tuition assistance for RAF Croughton is provided by the RAF Mildenhall Education Center. For questions and regulations please contact the education center DSN 314-236-8620.
College Classes -Universities
The University of Maryland offers courses leading to undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, business administration and management, computer science and information systems management. They also provide a wide range of courses including general education requirements for the Community College of the Air Force. Master's degrees are offered in counseling and personnel management, and administrative management with a specialization in public or business administration. For more information call DSN 314-236-8136.
Central Texas College offers associate degrees in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Professions, and Legal Assistant. CTC also offers a certification program for Emergency Medical Technician. For more information call DSN 314-236-8906.
RAF Croughton also offers other contracted colleges with representatives at other bases. They are:
Visit the Air Force Housing website to find your new home with the Air Force. This website serves as a one-stop shop for Airmen and their families to obtain information about the housing options and support services available to them at Air Forces world-wide.
Driving in the United Kingdom
It is mandatory that you attend the RAF Croughton Driving Briefing within 14 days from your arrival in the U.K. The briefing is held every first and third Thursday of the month as part of the newcomer briefings. Members must complete the briefing, pass the test and obtain their USAFE permit within this 14 day window. To help prepare for the test look at the official Highway Code on the UK government website. Highway Code books are also available for loan out at the Airman & Family Readiness Center, and the Library.
Car insurance is very high in Great Britain, especially if you are under age 25. If you do not have any vehicle violations or accidents on your license while in the United States, then have your insurance company in the US write a letter stating such and you will be eligible for a considerable (up to 60%) discount on your insurance. All Civilians, Active Duty, and their dependents must acquire U.K. insurance to operate a motor vehicle in the U.K. There is a local Geico office located on RAF Lakenheath and also a local USAA insurance branch located in London. The contact number for the USAA International Auto Insurance is (Toll Free) 1-800-531-8722/0800 289 192 (local). Geico overseas insurance can be reached at (Toll Free) 1-800-248-4998/01638 533400.
Helpful Web addresses:
The Highway Code: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/index.htm
Hands Free Devices
Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide, as well as throughout the U.K. Fines for not using a Hands-free device are upwards of £60 and three points on your license.
If you have purchased a vehicle that is still under warranty, confirm if your vehicle's warranty is voided when traveling OCONUS with your dealer.
Any motorized vehicle being imported into the United Kingdom, including motorcycles shipped in household goods, are considered to be Custom Concession (tax free) vehicles. Customs Concession vehicles are any vehicles imported or purchased free of VAT (value added tax, car tax, and duty/excise tax), which include vehicles purchased from AAFES car sales or any military tax free dealerships. Only active duty military members and DOD civilian components are authorized to own a concession vehicle and there's a limit on how many concession vehicles a person may own. Single, unaccompanied personnel without dependent spouse are authorized to own and operate one concession vehicle. Personnel who are married and accompanied by their dependent spouse, irrespective of command sponsorship may own and operate two concession vehicles. (The government will only pay to ship one vehicle.) Dependants are not entitled to concession vehicles and are therefore not authorized to be issued or sign for 941 customs forms to pick up your vehicle from the port. Any member shipping over more than their given amount of Concessions Vehicles should contact the Pass & Registration Office as soon as possible. You must complete 3 pink copies of Customs and Excise Form 941 at Pass and Registration before your vehicle will be cleared into the United Kingdom by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. Once the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) (shipping unit) receives the customs forms, they will hold your vehicle for 24 hrs prior to being released.
Vehicles imported into the country must be registered with the British authorities through the Pass and Registration office within 72 hours of being driven into the U.K or after being picked up from the port. A minimum of one Stateside license plate must be attached to the vehicle when picking it up at the port. (Don't forget to hand carry your front and rear license plates with you) all cars in Britain have front and rear plates. Upon arrival of your POV your plates will be put back on your car until your vehicle is fully registered in the U.K System and the British license plates can be made. Personnel without any plates on their vehicles are not authorized to drive the vehicle in the U.K. until the U.K. registration has been completed. U.K. light conversions are mandatory for every vehicle imported into the U.K. There is no exception to this regulation. Members are only allowed to drive their imported vehicles in the local area, with plate(s), for 30 days prior to the completion of the full U.K. registration. If your vehicle is not fully registered in the U.K. with British plates affixed to the front and rear of your imported vehicle within 30 days, your vehicle must be parked and may no longer be driven. There are no exceptions to this policy.
Vehicles three years or older must have a Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificate completed. A new requirement for vehicles less than three years old is the Single Vehicle Approval (SVA). The MOT and SVA are similar safety inspections. However, the MOT is an annual requirement for all vehicles over three years old being operated in the United Kingdom; and the SVA is a one time requirement on concession vehicles imported into the United Kingdom less than three years old. Once the vehicle is greater than three years old a standard MOT will be required annually.
Ministry on Transport (MOT) Inspection
The Ministry of Transport requires all imported vehicles that are less than three years old to be inspected before registration and vehicles over three years of age must be inspected yearly, this is called a Ministry Of Transport (MOT) Certificate. The MOT is a bumper to bumper safety test. It is very involved and complex and is not an easy test to pass. The MOT test itself takes about 45 minutes and the cost is currently £40-£50 or its dollar equivalent at the going rate. The MOT applies to all vehicles more than 3 years old. The MOT certificate is good for 12 months and then must be retested. You must have a valid MOT test certificate in order to drive on British roads. You may incur additional costs if the vehicle does not meet or pass MOT requirements and requires maintenance.
What should the guidelines be when deciding whether or not to bring an older vehicle to the UK?
The general rule is if you don't think your car will pass this test, it might be a good idea to consider the cost and length of time it would take to get the parts to repair it (generally from the States). A good rule of thumb is any car 10 years or older, unless a classic, would be best left in the States.
UK Law On Vehicles With Tinted Windows
Under UK law, the windshields of vehicles first used prior to 1 Apr 85 must allow at least 70% of visual light to pass through the glass. Vehicles newer than 1 April 85 must have windshields that allow 75% of visual light to pass through the glass and front side windows that allow 70% of visual light to pass through the glass. The rear windows of vehicles can be heavily tinted as long as the vehicle is equipped with side mirrors. The rules limiting tinted vehicle glass were implemented for two important reasons: first, to increase road safety by improving driver visibility, and second, to protect officers by giving them increased visibility into vehicles.
Requirements for the MOT testing include:
POV Inbound Shipments
You must show the U.S. port or vehicle processing center your Title (if you own your car) or a letter from the Lien Holder (Bank Credit Union, etc) authorizing you to ship the POV Overseas. If you don't have one of those documents, the port or vehicle processing center will not accept your car for shipment overseas.
Please take the following documents when picking up your POV: (Customs Forms should be delivered to the Port no less than 24hrs prior to pick-up.)1. Valid ID card2. Vehicle Inspection Form3. PCS orders4. Dependents can only pick up POV for the sponsor if they are noted on the Original Inspection form or have SPOA. **Note, dependents are not authorized to sign for the required 941 Customs forms needed to pick up your vehicle. Please contact Pass & Registration for questions** Please note any damages to your POV while still at the port, on form DD788 during inspection and take to the legal office-claims section. All inquiries on inbound POV's should be routed through TMO Inbound Section (email@example.com).
If you are a motorcyclist or think you might be interested in motorcycling while stationed in Europe, there are a few things you should know first before making any riding plans or financial obligations. You must complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) approved safety course in order to get the required motorcycle endorsement on your 3AF driver's license before you can ride your motorcycle in Europe. A refresher MSF course is required every three years. Additionally, if it’s more than three years since the last training, you will not be able to operate a motorcycle until the new training is completed. The frequency and availability of student slots are limited. You are highly encouraged to attend one of the MSF safety courses offered at your stateside location prior to PCSing here to avoid any unnecessary delays in licensing. See your base safety office for details. Members are also required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their current driver's license. If you do not have the endorsement you will not be allowed to operate a motorcycle in the U.K. A full British Drivers License may be obtained however please keep in mind this is a lengthy and very costly process and is not recommended. Many states allow adding the endorsement via mail however you will have to contact your DMV for more information. Enforcement of Motorcycle Operating Requirements -- To reduce motorcycle related casualties, United States Armed Forces Europe (USAFE) implemented new motorcycle training standards in April 2003. However, realizing the full benefit of these and existing safety standards requires a concerted effort by all RAF Mildenhall personnel. Commanders, at RAF Mildenhall have implemented a three-phased plan that consists of Education, Enforcement and Engagement. All military personnel who operate a motorcycle on or off base are required to adhere to the following criteria:
* Regardless of country assigned, all personnel who operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle must wear a protective helmet which, at a minimum, meets certification requirements of ECE 22.05. Department of Transportation (DOT), SNELL, and ANSI helmets no not meet host nation requirements.
* Eye Protection. Goggles, wrap around glasses, or a full-face shield (properly attached to helmet) designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance will be worn. Host nation equivalent is acceptable if it meets or exceeds ANSI Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance.
* Protective Clothing. Wear of long sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves are required. Gloves should be sturdy, non-slip type to permit a firm grip on the controls. Wear of a motorcycle jacket and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar®, and/or Cordura® containing impact absorbing padding are strongly encouraged.
* Foot Protection. Riders will wear sturdy over the ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles (durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles may be worn).
* Garment and Motorcycle Visibility. Motorcycle riders will wear a brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night.
Your gaining unit will appoint a sponsor for you when you receive orders. They must appoint a sponsor for you at least 90 days before your Report No Later Than Date (RNLTD). (NOTE: They go by your RNLTD and not your actual departure date.) If you have not heard from your sponsor and you are within 90 days of your RNLTD, contact Base Personnel at DSN 314-236-8228 or 011-44-1280-70-8103.
Lodging is available on base at the Shepherd's Rest Inn.
Be sure to arrange for you lodging prior to your arrival. For reservations, contact the Lodging Office at DSN 314-236-8394 or 011-44-1280-7083. You can make reservations up to a year in advance; however lodging does require a copy of your orders. If you are not able to stay on base, the Lodging Office will make arrangements for you at an off base approved lodging facility. If the Lodging Office is still not able to get you a room, then be sure to obtain a non-availability slip from Lodging to make your own arrangements. This will ensure that Finance will reimburse you. Make certain that your off-base Temporary Lodging Facility is within your per diem rate by visiting the Defense Travel Management Office website.
Check-in time for on base lodging is 1400 (2:00 p.m.). If arriving on an early flight, it may be helpful to have your sponsor book you in for the night before you arrive, so you will be able to get into a room immediately. Lodging only has one pet room. If it is not available, stop by the Airman and Family Readiness Annex for a list of local boarding kennels for your animal.
Please visit the Airman & Family Readiness Annex, DSN 314-236-8716 or 011-44-1280-70-8716, for a wide range of relocation services and programs. An overview of available resources will be provided to you at your Newcomer Orientation. After moving into quarters and while waiting for the arrival of your household goods, you may borrow basic items such as small appliances, cookware, and dishes from the Loan Locker. Other basic furniture items and appliances may be borrowed from Furniture Management Office (FMO) 314-236-8772 or 011-44-1280-70-8772.
Critical Installation Information
The currency used in the UK is pounds or sterling. The pound is divided into 100 pence. Paper money comes in 5, 10, 20, or 50 pounds notes. Pence (similar to what we call coins) are 5, 10, 20, 50 or the 1 or 2 pound coin. Money can be exchanged from dollars to pounds (or vice versa) at our Community Bank, DSN 314-236-8397 or 011-44-1280-70-8397.
Upon arrival at the airport, it can take up to one hour to get your luggage and clear customs. On exit into terminal reception, the base representative should display an "RAF Croughton" sign. If you don't make contact, follow signs to the "Meeting Point" and wait. If you are at Heathrow, be sure to go to the Terminal 3 Meeting Point.
For emergencies please contact the Military Police at RAF Croughton at 01280-708-607 or DSN 314-236-8607.
An added benefit of a USAFE assignment is the ability to travel in Europe and see sights that many people spend a lifetime just dreaming about. Your Military Personnel Facility (MPF) will ensure that your family has a Visa to enter the UK. If you wish to travel while assigned in Europe it is recommended (not mandatory) that you and your family acquire tourist passports (at your expense) before coming to Europe. Your tourist passport will ensure you can travel freely to all European countries. A no-fee passport will not allow entry into some European countries.
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military members and their families. Therefore, as a last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (719) 567-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
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