Reservists and regular soldiers have been honoured by the Prince of Wales for their service operating the Army's helicopters in Afghanistan.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps, presented Operational Service Medals to Army Air Corps soldiers at a parade at Wattisham Flying Station yesterday, Thursday 9 May.
The majority of the 40 soldiers receiving medals were from 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, which returned from a 4-month deployment to Helmand province in January. Alongside them were reservists from Bury St Edmunds-based 6 Regiment Army Air Corps (Volunteers) who deployed to Afghanistan as ground crew alongside their regular colleagues.
Prince Charles said:
"Thank you all very much for the dedication, commitment and willingness to take on difficult challenges in difficult conditions in any part of the world you are sent to. You are remarkable people and I am incredibly proud to be here to share this occasion with you."
The Prince paid tribute to ‘the remarkable sense of commitment’ displayed by the reservists of 6 Regiment, who took part in an Apache demonstration at a forward arming and refuelling point – the military equivalent of a Formula 1 pit-stop – before the parade began.
The Armed Forces are placing a greater emphasis on the Reserve Forces with the aim that, by 2020, reservists will be a fully integrated component of the ‘Whole Force’ and will routinely deploy as part of all military operations.
Prince Charles said:
"The Army Air Corps looks in good shape for the future, particularly the contribution of reservist personnel. It is something that we should not take for granted that people are prepared to volunteer and to fit in a military existence with a civilian life."
Among those receiving medals were reservists Staff Sergeant Del Smith and Airtrooper Fiona Burgess, who returned in March from a 6-month deployment to Afghanistan with 1 Regiment Army Air Corps.
Staff Sergeant Smith, aged 49 from North Walsham in Norfolk, works in the radiology department at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and has previously served in Iraq:
"This medal parade is my last day of service and I’ll be a civilian again next week,” he said. “Confidence is the key skill that I’ve taken out of my military experiences. At the hospital I feel surer of myself in giving leadership to colleagues and being able to assert myself with senior staff."
Airtrooper Burgess, a 40-year-old civil servant from Andover, said:
"It’s a great honour to receive my campaign medal from Prince Charles. I’m really proud of my work on tour but sad that the experience is over.
"Our role was to manage the passenger-handling facility, which is about getting troops on and off helicopters. As reservists we’re totally accepted by regulars because we’re out there doing the same job."
Regular soldier Lance Corporal Stephanie Beechey works as a combat human resources specialist in 662 Squadron’s headquarters.
The 26-year-old from Pontypridd, south Wales, said:
"It’s great to get out and do your job on operations and we’re well used to working with reservists. Fiona was with a different unit but we lived in the same tent and she became my mother on tour!"
Colonel Andy Cash, Commander of Wattisham Flying Station, said:
"It is a great honour for Wattisham Flying Station to host His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps. The event has allowed His Royal Highness to meet the soldiers and families of the Army Air Corps and recognise the service and achievements of our soldiers, both Regulars and Reserves, wherever they serve around the world and particularly on operations in Afghanistan."
Source: MOD News
10th May 2013
The Army will be putting its boots on the ground in Rayleigh Essex as part of the local boroughs Armed Forces Celebrations.
The soldiers from 124 Petroleum Squadron the Royal Logistic Corps, based in Warley Essex, will be at the event engaging with the public and providing information about the Army and the Reserve Forces. The Warley based 124 Petroleum Squadron are skilled specialists that are trained to build Bulk Fuel Installations and long distance pipelines. The Squadron constructs flexible ground tanks that enable it to hold and distribute over 1 million litres of fuel, which is enough to fill 170,000 family cars. Its role is to supply and distribute fuel stocks to the Army.
The Squadron is part of 151 (London) Transport Regiment, which is London’s only Logistic Regiment. The Regiment is well trained and operationally tested, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and on UN peacekeeping duties in Cyprus. It is responsible for the transportation of equipment and supplies to anywhere the Army needs it.
Captain Derek Gregory MBE, Operational Support Officer said, “This is a great opportunity for the local unit to put its boots on the ground and actively engage with the local public. Soldiers will be there to provide information about their experiences and explain what it is like to step inside the boots of a soldier. It is also great way to thank the public for their support to the Armed Forces and remind them that the Army is still recruiting”. The event is taking place at King George V Playing Fields in Bull Lane Rayleigh Essex. Also on display at the event will be one of the Army’s latest Logistic vehicles and a careers information stand.
10th May 2013
Local Territorial Army soldiers are currently training for the Nijmegen Marches. The team from 124 Petroleum Squadron The Royal Logistic Corps based in Brentwood in Essex, have just qualified to enter a military contingent into the 2013 event.
The International Four Day Marches Nijmegen (or Vierdaagse) is the largest marching event in the world. It is organised every year in Nijmegen in mid-July as a means of promoting sport and exercise.
45,000 participants, mostly civilians, walk 30, 40 or 50 kilometers daily depending on their age and gender, and, on completion, receive a royally approved medal (Vierdaagsekruis).
Each year military contingents from approximately 20 countries are invited to march in uniform in the event. Captain Paul Herlihy who is leading team stated, “The team has been training for some time in order to qualify for the event. We have worked hard and cannot wait to experience the unique and colourful atmosphere of the Marches”.
The soldiers will continue to train hard over the next few weekends in preparation for the event. By which time they hope to have their boots fully worn in to avoid any blisters or sore feet.
1st May 2013
Territorial Army soldiers serving with 151 London Transport Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps will soon be deploying to Afghanistan. The Regiment, which is London’s only Transport Regiment and has a unit based in Brentwood, will be deploying a Logistic troop of volunteers consisting of a troop headquarters and two transport sections, to support the Theatre Logistic Group in Helmand Province.
The TLG provides the logistics expertise for the British Army across all of Helmand Province. It provides the British forces in Afghanistan with everything from bullets, body armour, and medical supplies to fuel, rations, and water and welfare facilities. The troop will be working alongside regular colleagues from 27 Regiment RLC. The supply line from the UK to the front line in Afghanistan is extremely complex. It is the job of the TLG to understand what the Army needs and to ensure that what it needs is delivered to where it is needed at the right place and at the right time.
The volunteers have carried out intensive training in order to polish their military and trade skills and prepare for the tour. A two week Mission Specific Task package was delivered at Longmoor Training Camp with more training planned after the troop is mobilised through RTMC and joins 27 Regiment RLC.
Lt Sophie Hardman The Troop Commanded states “The troop has been formed from volunteers from across all squadrons within the Regiment. We also have a few soldiers from 155 Wessex Tpt Regt RLC deploying with us. There are some great characters and the troop has bonded well. The troop will be expected to operate and drive a wide range of vehicles and equipment such as the Army’s new MAN Support Vehicle (MAN SV) equipped with an Enhanced Palletised Loading System (EPLS). Everyone has worked extremely hard to prepare for the tour and we are keen to get to work.”
The troop will mobilise in June and will deploy to Theatre in September.
23rd April 2013