Wings milestone for Culdrose naval aviators
12:30pm Monday 20th August 2012 in News
Five personnel from RNAS Culdrose have reached a milestone in their careers as naval aviators. Watched by their families and friends, the newly qualified observers were presented with their Wings, marking the completion of their formal flying training and passage into frontline duties.
Vice Admiral Richards CB, Chief of Defence Intelligence, was guest of honour at the ceremony on the Helston naval base. The vice admiral presented Wings badges and certificates to each of the men graduating from the airborne surveillance and control (ASaC) course from 849 Squadron.
The event began with a short flying display, featuring a number of different aircraft from Culdrose and the Black Cats Display Team from RNAS Yeovilton. This was followed by a ceremonial parade in the squadrons’ new hangar.
Vice Admiral Richards, who gained his own Pilot Wings at Culdrose in 1982, praised the graduating students for their hard work and dedication, and thanked the squadron engineers for keeping the “Queen of the Skies” (the Sea King helicopter) airborne.
Lieutenant Craig Jordan, who will deploy with 857 Squadron to Operation Herrick in November, received the Bell Davis Trophy and the Roue Trophy for achieving the best combined air and ground results on the course.
Commander Joint Operations Commendations were also presented to Lieutenant Neil Morton for his work during Operation Ellamy, and to Lieutenant Chris Flynn for Operation Herrick.
The newly qualified aircrew will now go on to serve in one of the two front line ASaC squadrons – 854 and 857 – and can expect to serve in the forefront of current operations both at sea and ashore.
Lieutenant Andy Bailey, who will deploy with 857 Squadron to Operation Herrick in February said: “I’m extremely proud to receive my Observer Wings. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination for me to reach this goal and I’m looking forward to the challenges that the frontline operations will offer.”
In their future careers the five newest members of the front line can expect to see service in locations around the globe and will serve in the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, expected to be operational towards the end of the decade.