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Misc Forums => Health, Welfare, and Passings => Topic started by: velocity on May 22, 2017, 09:25:13 PM

Title: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: velocity on May 22, 2017, 09:25:13 PM
It is with great, abiding sadness I report that my long-time speed pal Jayne Millington breathed her last at 8:40 AM on Saturday, May 20th, 2017,  in a Belgium hospital not far from her last posting with NATO for the RAF.

Anyone who had the pleasure of witnessing any of the supersonic battle on Black Rock in 1997 will recall she was "The Voice of Black Rock" as well as the crack communicator for the ThrustSSC team. She juggled, if I recall correctly, at least 6 different radios that communicated with various groups on the desert, and made it a point to get a CB so she could relay run data to many speed junkies scattered throughout the desert perimeter.

When the Brits went home with the Mach 1 record, Jayne and I kept the friendship going with many a visit back and forth over the past 20 years. I watched and marveled as Jayne rose steadily in Royal Air Force rank to Air Commodore  (our version of a 1 star General) a far cry form a weapons controller, or delivering updates to air chiefs during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s.

When she was the big boss of RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, she gave me a tour of the facility that essentially kept all of the UK skies safe from threat. The underground warren of technology and battle readiness was concurrently overwhelming and comforting.

She gave me a nasty frown when I burst into laughter as airmen and women stopped in mid-step to salute the car we were riding in - complete with little fluttering flags atop the headlamps. I apologized, but reminded her that while she had been saluted for years, this was first for me. All was well when I bought a bottle of "champers" that turned into 3 before the weekend was done. Lets just say, the UK was rather good and safe when Jayne was in charge of its 1,100 staff.

Her RAF call sign was "Desert Witch," yet she anything but. Immaculately presented, impeccably polite and eloquent, Jayne was very much the image of the RAF officer, devoted to the job and the people under her command.

When I stayed with her for a couple weeks we spent a lot of time walking on the beaches and visiting Dunstanburgh Castle -- one of her absolute favorite places on the coastline. We picked wild onions along the beaches and I made fine french onion soup back at her "general" digs while introduced me to kippers.

She managed Boulmer while it was in great military and political upheaval that she took in stride and kept mighty tidy amidst a maelstrom of change, challenge and chaffing. In the end the local community kept the life-saving Sea King search and rescue helicopters, together with the tremendous radar facility, tactical air squadron (they let me scramble jets one day - got to push the button that unleashed holy hell - never gonna forget that one) settling into a hub of UK air defence.
RAF Boulmer today has Jayne's fingerprints all over it.

In between, she came over to the states and we would go to Bonneville, or hang out in some grand spot for a few days of socializing.

Afterwards, she was the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) Force Commander for the whole of the UK, responsible for the entire airspace covered by seven remote radars stretching from the Shetland Islands to Cornwall, including the station at Brizlee Wood, just outside Alnwick. And I will give you one guess who put those rockets on London roofs during the Olympics. . .

She went overseas heading up 1 Air Control Centre, that provided air cover for Allied forces in Afghanistan and based at Camp Bastion in the volatile Helmand Province. With 35 people out there on radar, the group provided cover 24-7 for everything from air-to-air refueling to fast jets and full airspace management. Of that job she said, "Our mission has been to keep everyone as safe as you possibly can in a war zone."

Then she was Deputy chief of Staff at NATO Allied Air Command at Ramstein Air Base in Germany before she took up the duties as the National Military Representative SHAPE at UK Ministry of Defense last fall.

Of all the military ThrustSSC folks, she is the only one I know that was formally presented to Queen Elizabeth for her remarkable, enduring military service to the commonwealth. A big day for a little girl from Wales.

What started as a bad cough last October, grew more wicked and menacing until a couple weeks ago when the doctors ran out of ideas about how to kill the cancer cells without taking down Jayne with the task. A resolute spirit who gave a fine accounting of herself in every regard, I salute her and offer this missive a way to grieve, to share a bit about a gal who loved speed attempts just as much as we all do.

Farewell Desert Witch

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: wobblywalrus on May 22, 2017, 11:42:55 PM
The RAF in Helmand saved one of my son's lives.  They were pinned down by the taliban and it was getting dark.  They would have been killed that night.  The american air force would not respond.  The RAF did.  They blew up enough taliban to allow the marines to escape.

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: manta22 on May 23, 2017, 10:19:54 AM
Thank you for that heartfelt report on Jayne Millington. RIP, Ms Millington.  :cry:

Regards, Neil  Tucson, AZ

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: Glen on May 23, 2017, 10:28:54 AM
RIP Jayne Millington :cry:

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: PorkPie on May 23, 2017, 11:19:10 AM
Jayne - it was great to knowing you - R.I.P.

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: Speed Limit 1000 on May 23, 2017, 09:11:06 PM
RIP Jayne. PP nice tribute to a good friend and a great person.


Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: velocity on June 01, 2017, 06:09:04 PM
In case you are in the UK at the same time. . . the arrangements for Jayne’s funeral have been announced. The St Clement Dane’s church is one of Christopher Wren’s classic designs. It was bombed in 1940 but was rebuilt. For the last half century or so it has been the church of the Royal Air Force. 

A funeral service for Air Cdre W J Millington MA, MA(Oxon), FRAeS, FCMI, RAF, will be held at St Clement Danes, Strand, London WC2R 1DH at 1400 on Mon 19 Jun 17. The family welcomes anyone who knew Air Cdre Millington to the funeral. All attendees are to be seated by 1350, dress for the funeral for military personnel is No 1 SD (or single Service equivalent) with medals; black armbands are not to be worn at the request of the family. The parking in the area is extremely limited therefore leave plenty of time for parking, transport from RAF High Wycombe is available and personnel are requested to contact The Stn Adjutant or SWO as at para 4 if they require transport. The funeral service will be followed by a wake for family and friends only.
The wake will be confirmed at a later date.
Her brother Jon has requested donations in lieu of flowers be made to the charity MacMillan Cancer Support, either on the day or in the name of Air Cdre W J Millington via the website

I am sure some of the ThrustSSC team will show up, I know Aerodynamicist Ron Ayers is as heartbroken about Jayne’s passing as I am.

Title: Re: ThrustSSC's Jayne Millington aka "The Desert Witch"
Post by: SPARKY on June 01, 2017, 10:54:27 PM
  Well said by a friend---most of us will leave this world without as much !!   

LSL, to you, to your departed friend, and to your cherished friendship.      :cheers: