Why Mildenhall’s SOW is Moving to Spang

Extensive infrastructure investments, available space, and underused facilities all played a role in the decision to move the 352nd Special Operations Wing from RAF Mildenhall, UK, to Spangdahlem AB, Germany, officials with the 52nd Fighter Wing told Air Force Magazine. Lt. Col. Chris Meeker, the 52nd Civil Engineering Squadron commander, noted that since 2010, Spangdahlem has lost the bulk of its fighter forces, going from three fighter squadrons down to just one—the 480th FS. As a result, a great deal of excess shelter space, support facilities, parking areas, and ramp space has opened up to accommodate a new mission, and DOD leaders believed it would be the best site to support missions both in Europe and Africa. In addition, Spangdahlem has received upwards of $370 million worth of infrastructure improvements as part of the base’s “northwest expansion” since 2004, either through US-funded projects or contributions by the base’s German neighbors. These improvements include a new commissary, medical and dental clinics, childcare center, new schools, and refurbished water and electrical systems. As the process stands, the base’s civil engineers will begin demolition of older facilities soon, then begin work on underground utilities in Fiscal 2017, with construction slated to begin in Fiscal 2018 on facilities to support the SOW.