British WWII veteran given VIP tour of US Air base CREDIT MOD

British WWII veteran gets VIP tour of US airbase hosting Exercise Red Flag

British WWII veteran given VIP tour of US Air base CREDIT MOD

A British WWII veteran was given a special US Air Force Base tour where he met Royal Air Force personnel taking part in a major exercise. 

Born in 1925, Henry Ison is both a Royal Naval airman and Parachute Regiment veteran. 

Mr Ison was hosted by Colonel Jared Hutchinson, the Commanding Officer of the 414th Squadron of the US Air Force, the squadron that runs Exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base several times a year. 

British World War Two veteran given VIP tour of US airbase
Henry Ison was given a private tour of the Thunderbird's museum (Picture: MOD)

The veteran joined the Royal Navy in 1942, becoming an airman with the Fleet Air Arm.   

He served at the Royal Naval Air Station at Lee on Solent, near Portsmouth, where he honed his wings, flying torpedo bombers.  

Mr Ison began his career flying in the Swordfish aircraft, famous for sinking more enemy aircraft than any other plane during the Second World War.  

In 1944, Henry volunteered to transfer to the Parachute Regiment, serving with the 2nd and 13th Battalions in the UK, Singapore and Palestine.

He was discharged in 1947, having carried out 29 jumps.  

WWII Veteran US Air FORCE Base Tour CREDIT MOD 270223
Mr Ison said he would rejoin the Royal Air Force tomorrow if he could fly alone again (Picture: MOD).

Henry's tour coincided with Exercise Red Flag, the world's largest air combat training exercise, with nearly 300 RAF personnel deployed to Nellis.  

The veteran was therefore able to meet Typhoon pilots and see their aircraft. 

During the tour Henry also saw 100 fast jets from the United States Air Force, the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, as well as the Royal Australian Air Force lined up on the flight line for the exercise.  

"There is a worldwide bond between aviators of all nations and generations, we have faced and overcome the same challenges," Col Jared Hutchinson said. 

"It is a great pleasure to be able to host Henry, a representative of that generation who fought for freedom in World War Two. 

"A concept that is important today as it was then," he added.  

Watch: RAF joins US and Australia for largest Allied air exercise ever.

Henry was also given a VIP tour of the Thunderbirds museum and hangar – the Thunderbirds are the US flashy display team, known for their impressive air stunts.  

Henry was shown 'behind the scenes' of the Thunderbirds briefing table and sat in Thunderbird One, the Commanding Officer's place. 

When seeing the Thunderbirds' F-16 fighter jets, Henry was asked whether he would like to fly in one of the jets. He said: "Yes, but only if I am on my own!" 

Henry and his late wife Dorothy emigrated to the US in the 1960s.  

Before retiring Henry was a flight instructor and held a commercial pilot's licence.  

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