USAF(E) RAF Little Rissington: 1981 to 1993

USAF(E) RAF Little Rissington: 1981 to 1993

With the arrival of the United States Air Force in Europe, Little Rissington became the largest military contingency hospital in Europe. The aerodrome was cleared for C-130 Hercules and C5 Galaxies. During the Gulf War, Little Rissington was held on its highest readiness state for several decades as it prepared for casualties. The USAF left Little Rissington in 1993 and it was handed back to the Royal Air Force.

Below are some pictures I have borrowed from the USAF Facebook Group (if anyone has any objections please let me know). I asked for their use about 3 years ago.

Have to say I find this subject fascinating. I remember the Gulf War period well and we were aware of RAF LR, being able to support massive injuries. The threat was NBC, and to combat this we were jabbed with Anthrax and other compounds to raise our immune systems to anything that could have been used to attack the military in Iraq. There was also large hospitals erected in Saudia too.

The pictures below are not mine and belong to those stationed from the USAF.

One thought on “USAF(E) RAF Little Rissington: 1981 to 1993

  1. Interestingly, it was the 4E hospital at RAF Bicester that got the patient load. I suspect that was because of the proximity to RAF Upper Heyford. It was gratifying to see the 4E system working though not technically as concieved. The 4E system assumed 4 levels of care depending how close the patient was to the battlefield. The first or 1E was self care or buddy care. Slap a bandage on and get back to work or the case would be elevated to the 2E unit(s) that were in the area. The 2E was essentially an aid station. As medicine has progressed, there were very complex procedures possible compared to 50 years ago. The best analogy for the 2E was a MASH unit al la Trapper John. If the case could not be handled by the 2
    E, it was shipped to the 3E if in country or the 4E if further back. The lines between 3E and 4E were a bit blurred to say the least. The key is that the patient would get definitive care at either. Now a thing called the Airevac Policy comes into play. Suppose the policy was 30 days. What this meant was that if a patient could not be returned to duty within 30 days, s/he was shipped back to the next higher level. In the case of the 4E, that would be stateside. In the first Gulf War, no one knew just what Hussein might pull in terms of chemical weapons. The beds at the in-country facilities couldn’t be occupied by a cook with a knife cut to the hand. The beds had to be held for the anticipated really horrendous casualties. As a result, the Airevac policy was set much lower than usual … maybe 2 days. I heard stories about the cook with a knife cut being shipped to RAF Bicester so that his bed was available.

    By the way, the upper left hand photo is of the pallet racking system though this photo is in the less dense of the two hangers. When the RAF was doing the munitions load out for the Falklans War, we were invited to go and watch. When our group walked into the RAF hanger at Bicester a collective lightbulb went off over our heads. Here was the solution to our need to store literally thousands of palletized boxes. I think we had the contract for the first system in about 60 days.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.