RAF F35B lighting joined US B-1B lancer and F-15 Eagle for flypasts for Eighth Air Force 80th Anniversary 01022022 CREDIT RAF MOD.jpg
Eighth Air Force was dubbed 'The Mighty Eighth' due to its size and strength during the Second World War (Picture: RAF/MOD).
RAF

RAF and US Air Force fly high for 80th anniversary of 'The Mighty Eighth'

The Eighth Air Force began during the Second World War as VIII Bomber Command before moving to England.

RAF F35B lighting joined US B-1B lancer and F-15 Eagle for flypasts for Eighth Air Force 80th Anniversary 01022022 CREDIT RAF MOD.jpg
Eighth Air Force was dubbed 'The Mighty Eighth' due to its size and strength during the Second World War (Picture: RAF/MOD).

A Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning aircraft joined a US Air Force B-1B Lancer and F-15 Eagle aircraft for multiple flypasts to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Eighth Air Force.

The RAF Marham-based fifth-generation fighter jet joined the B-1B strategic bombers, which had flown directly from the US, and F-15s for the flypasts of both RAF Lakenheath and RAF Duxford.

Duxford was once home to an Eighth Air Force P-51 unit and now hosts the largest air museum in Europe.

Major General Andrew Gebara, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center Commander, commended the Eighth's "long and rich history" that dates back to the Second World War.

Originally stood up on 1 February 1942 at Langley Field, Virginia, VIII Bomber Command moved to England a short while later, first to RAF Daws Hill and later to RAF High Wycombe, the RAF's Bomber Command.

Major General Gebara added: "Not only does this flight signify the longevity and reach of the United States' bomber force, but it pays tribute to our UK allies as well. 

"Eighth Air Force has had a close relationship with the Royal Air Force since its beginning. For 80 years, bomber operations have remained a vital component to US strategic forces."

F35B lighting, US B1B lancer and F15 Eagle flypast for Eighth Air Force 80th Anniversary 01022022 CREDIT RAF MOD.jpg
F-35B Lightning, US B-1B Lancer and F-15 Eagle performed multiple flypasts for the Eighth Air Force on its 80th anniversary (Picture: RAF/MOD).

The Eighth Air Force was a US Army Air Force Combat Air Force, focused on the European Theatre.

It carried out the strategic bombing of targets in France, the low countries and Germany.

It earned the name "The Mighty Eighth" due to its size and strength during the Second World War and, by mid-1944, the unit had more than 200,000 members.

At its peak, the Mighty Eighth could dispatch more than 1,000 four-engine bombers and varieties of fighter aircraft on a single mission if need be. 

On 22 February 1944, the US reorganised its Air Forces in Europe by renaming Eighth Air Force as the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe, which is today known as United States Air Forces in Europe.