AN American airman from RAF Lakenheath was shot dead in a gun attack at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday.
The Lakenheath airman and a USAF bus driver were killed when a 21-year-old Kosovan man opened fire with a handgun. Two more Lakenheath airman were injured, one seriously, in the attack. Their names had not been released as we went to press.
The United States Air Force said the three were on their way to Ramstein USAF base to support ‘overseas contingency operations’, which is the term the Obama administration ordered must replace ‘war on terror’ in government announcements.
Reports from Germany say the gunman, named in Kosovo as Arid Uka, had argued with the airman in front of their distinctive USAF blue bus before opening fire. The gunman then ran into the huge terminal building before being arrested. German authorities have been warning of the possibility of an airport attack since November.
Speaking at Lakenheath, the 48th Fighter Wing’s commander Col John Quintas gave his sympathies to the airmen’s friends and families and promised them support. He added: “I express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy from concerned citizens around the world.”
President Obama said: “I am outraged by this attack. I think the American people are united in expressing our gratitude for the service of those who were lost.
“Michelle and I have their family and their friends in our thoughts and prayers and we are praying for a speedy recovery for those who were injured. I want everybody to understand that we will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place.”
Also in Washington, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said: “We are committed to providing the support and services necessary to the airmen and families affected by this tragedy and remain firm in our resolve to carry on our Air Force mission.”
Lakenheath’s 48th Fighter Wing comprises three squadrons of fighter and fighter-bomber F-15 supersonic jets along with all their support and maintenance personnel. It is the only F-15 wing in Europe.