501st CSW exercises freedom of Huntingdon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason W. Cochran
  • 501CSW/PA

From the first world war, to the D-Day landings in Normandy, and into present day the U.S. and U.K. have cherished their special relationship. A clear demonstration of this is the events that took place in Huntingdon in 2018 and today.

In 2018 the 501st Combat Support Wing was granted the Freedom of Huntingdon, the town's highest honor. Today, the 501st CSW exercised and celebrated its freedom alongside Huntingdon community members who all took part in a parade through town.

“It is a great honor to stand in front of you today as the Commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing, represented by the Airmen you see in formation in front of you,” said Col. Brian Filler, 501st CSW commander. “Almost every Airman you ask will tell you that we love living here. We love your country, your history, and most importantly we love living among you. Thank you for being such incredible hosts. We do our utmost to be good guests and continue to build on eight decades of strong Anglo-American relations.”

American Airmen have been stationed in the local area since the 1940s,  flying combat missions over Nazi occupied Europe from bases like Alconbury, Molesworth and Kimbolton. 

“It was a tough and bloody time to be an American Airman,” said Filler.  “Just as you do now, previous generations opened their doors to us and made us feel like we had a home away from home.”

Exercising the Freedom of Huntingdon not only represented the strong bond between the U.S. and U.K., but it also marked the last time the 501st CSW would celebrate this special day with its headquarters at RAF Alconbury. 

“On July 18 2023, I will hand over the guidon and the wing headquarters will transition from RAF Alconbury to RAF Fairford,” said Filler. “My assignment as the 501st Combat Support Wing commander has been the highlight of my professional life and getting to live in your community has been phenomenal and one my family will never forget. We have built true friendships with mayors, councilors, members of the clergy, high sheriffs, the Lieutenancy and so many others.”