A Fleet Air Arm Chief Petty Officer from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has reached a significant milestone that is going to be hard to beat amongst his peers.
Clocking up a staggering 3,000 days at sea throughout a career spanning 29 years, Chief Air Engineering Technician Darren ‘Rab’ Butler, Senior Maintenance Rating (SMR) on 01 Flight of 829 Naval Air Squadron, has spent over twenty two and a half years on frontline service.
Rab celebrated his achievement by going back to sea once again. Embarking the Squadron’s Merlin Mark 2 helicopter on to HMS Dauntless and overseeing its stint afloat on a Type 45 Destroyer.
Over his time in the Royal Navy Rab has seen plenty of action working with Sea King and Merlin helicopters on many Squadrons across Culdrose. And now as the SMR of 01 Flight onboard HMS Dauntless he can look back on his impressive Ships Cap Tally collection from the Ships he has served on.
His frontline tours have included: n 820 NAS - 8 years, serving on HMS Ark Royal and Various RFA’s.
*814 NAS - five years, serving on HMS Illustrious, HMS Invincible and various RFA’s.
*700 (M) NAS - two years.
*829 NAS - seven and a half years, serving on HMS Westminster, HMS Daring, HMS St Albans HMS Illustrious, including Op Patwin - The Philippines disaster relief operation.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have served on frontline Sea King and Merlin squadrons at Culdrose that go to sea on a regular basis with the aircraft carriers and now 829 NAS on frigates and destroyers,” said Chief Petty Officer Air Engineering Technician ‘Rab’ Butler.
“As members of the armed forces we all make a commitment to the nation. I can think of no better place to prove this than serving on a front line unit, protecting our nation’s interests”.
Rab is due to finish his time on the 829 NAS in April 2016, which will give him a few more opportunities to add to his impressive eight and a half years at sea.