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NEWS | April 9, 2013

RAF officer provides beneficial insights to Langley

By Airman Areca T. Wilson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With approximately 400 British officers stationed in the United States as part of an exchange program with the United Kingdom, Langley Air Force Base has the privilege to learn from four of these officers.

By bringing their own unique experiences to their positions, these RAF officers, who are stationed here, provide different perspectives that benefit the Langley mission.

Flt. Lt. Richard Bush, one of the RAF exchange officers stationed at Langley, has been working in the weapons tactic shop at the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing here for just under 18 months. Bush is also a qualified mission operations commander for the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System weapon system.

As part of the exchange program, Bush fills a role normally held by a U.S. officer. In turn, there is a U.S. officer in the United Kingdom filling a British post.

"It's an exchange of ideas and ways of doing things," said Bush. "I'm learning a lot here about how to do things, how things work and how your culture and ethos solve problems."

Bush also brings new perspectives that contribute to the mission at the 480th ISRW, said Maj. Patrick Wolverton, the wing's Weapons and Tactics chief.

"As the wing matured over the past few years, it has expanded its partnerships and collaboration with the intelligence community, sister services and coalition partners," said Wolverton. "[Bush] has been an integral part of that expanded relationship. His experience as a British intelligence analyst has significantly helped the wing integrate new tactics, techniques and procedures, ensuring we continually meet the demands of warfighters worldwide."

Bush admits while he is here to bring his experiences and point of view, he also learns a great deal from the way Langley conducts its missions.

"It's really a two-way street," said Bush. "I learn a lot every time I sit in on a mission [briefing]. I've gained something from every meeting I've been to, from the most junior grade lieutenants to seasoned officers. The different way we do things, we blend them together to bring a better product."

Additionally, Bush said much can be learned from the RAF's rich history, as it recently celebrated its 95th anniversary April 1.

"Our anniversary is a big thing for us," said Bush. "We are the first independent air force formed back in the first World War. It's an important part of your culture and ethos to know where you came from and what happened in the past so you can try to emulate and build on that."

That cultural awareness and knowledge is beneficial to the Langley mission, said Wolverton. He agrees the exchange program itself is advantageous to both the United Kingdom and United States.

"[Bush] brings an international perspective that you can't get anywhere else," said Wolverton. "Close collaboration with our coalition partners is the key to successful operations in the future."

Bush hopes during his time here he has brought something from his personal values, represented his service and his country at the 480th ISRW, and generated fresh ideas to improve and supplement the Langley mission.