Gordon Duff: GI “Home Away From Home” Sterling House Slated To Close




By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Air Force Lodges are the heart of a system of hotels run by the US military across America and around the world.  They have been vital to our soldiers as housing and to our veteran and retiree community as affordable but very “4 star” hotels at a “1 star” price.  For Americans far from home they are much more, they are a piece of America.  Of these, Sterling House at RAF Fairford may be one of the best.  Fairford, with one of the worlds finest strategic runways faces closing in August.  This has been, over the decades, a key America base for projecting air power in Europe, located with an ally, Britain, who has always been “with us.”

What American stand to lose is one of Europe’s best hotels, one that is usually full, dirt cheap but still makes a profit.  The base has been on standby for some time and administrative functions have moved to RAF Croughton, the NATO communications facility 40 miles away.  However, it wouldn’t take much to keep this place open, in fact, closing it makes no sense at all.  I have visited there for years, when Space A was available.  Located in the picturesque Cotswold district of Britain just outside the village of Fairford, there are few places better to vacation from.

Friends often complain at having to drive out from London to see me there.  It costs less to stay at Sterling House than to park a car in London, not to mention that hotels, including the Four Seasons, where I spent a week last year, aren’t even close as to quality and staff.  The Four Seasons cost 20 times more, yes, you read that correctly.

Not much is operating at RAF Fairford, an excellent commissary and a bowling alley and snack bar.  The facilities, of course, at the base itself are pristeen and ready to go and are likely to be needed again.  What doesn’t have to go is Sterling House.  We closed the Patton Hotel in Garmish a few years ago when the new AFRC, The Edelweiss opened.  The Patton had served 3 generations of Americans in Europe and, actually half a generation of the 3rd Reich.  Losing it cost us, not in comfort or convenience but tradition.  The new hotel is, well, new.  It isn’t the same.

Sterling house is this kind of place.  It isn’t “out of the way” and it doesn’t lose money.  This is a high quality, high demand facility in perfect repair and continually booked.  It serves a community, our community and can’t be replaced, won’t be replaced, if closed.

My advice is to reconsider, keep the hotel, keep the excellent staff that have served there for many years and keep America’s bastion in the West Country of England open.


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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.