Most of the US bases are known and referred to as ‘RAF’, [for example RAF Menwith Hill, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Feltwell] whereas in reality this is not so.

At the large US bases (eg NSA Menwith Hill) there will be a US Commander in post who is in firm control and occupation. In other cases, at a base like ‘RAF’ Feltwell, for example there are no RAF staff present and it is the US Commander who decides who has access to the base – as does the US Commander at all US bases.

The land occupied by the US Visiting Forces and their Agencies is in the possession of the Secretary of State for Defence. All the buildings and infrastructure are owned by the US authorities. On many of the bases they are a complete ‘US entity’ with a school, leisure faclities, commissionary (supermarket), a medical centre, church and housing for US families and military.

Where there is an RAF presence there may be a contingent of staff, with an RAF Liaison officer ostensibly being in charge. There may be a Ministry of Defence Police Agency (MPDA) presence too. The MPDA have limited powers and are paid for, and under the operational control of, the US authorities.