30 years service recognised
A Petty Officer from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been awarded a clasp to his Long Service and Good Conduct medal (LSGCM) after 30 years of service with the Fleet Air Arm.
Petty Officer Conrad ‘Con’ Williams of 814 Naval Air Squadron joined the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in July 1984 and completed his initial Air Engineering training at HMS Daedalus, near Portsmouth. Since then Conrad has gone on to work with several types of Sea Kings and all the current versions of the Royal Navy’s Merlin helicopter. He has been a ‘Pinger’ (a name given to Anti-submarine warfare helicopters and their crews because of the distinctive noise emitted from their dipping sonars) through and through since 1986, serving on 706, 810 and 820 NAS’s including HMS Ark Royal’s first deployment with 820 NAS.
After a brief period at 771 Search & Rescue NAS in 1997 he moved to help set up the Merlin IFTU – Intensive Flying Trials Unit that prepared Culdrose to accept Merlin and which later became 824 NAS. As a result he is one of a very small group that has been continually involved with Merlin since its initial appearance at RNAS Culdrose from Westlands in 1998.
He has spent a considerable amount of time on Operational Evaluation Units, both with the Sea King and Merlin and deployed to the United States Navy’s Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre in the Caribbean from 1994 – 97 for torpedo and sonar trials assessments. As a Merlin engineer he’s served with 824, 700M, 829 and twice with 814 NAS. He was also onboard for HMS Ark Royal very last deployment in 2011.
Conrad was promoted to Leading Hand in 2000 and Petty Officer in 2004 and has consistently demonstrated unwavering commitment, professionalism and a very high level of ability throughout his long career.
The LSGC Clasp is awarded in recognition of over 30 years of exemplary service in the Royal Navy and is consequently a rare achievement of a privileged few. It is given in addition to the LSGC medal which recipients receive after 15 years service. “I feel very privilege to have received the LSGC Clasp,” said POAET ‘Con’ Williams. “The week I joined the Royal Navy, Frankie Goes to Hollywood was at Number 1 with “Two Tribes”; that seems a lifetime ago now, looking back.”
Commanding Officer of 814 NAS, Commander Stu Finn RN said “It is a rare honour to award a Clasp to a Long Service and Good Conduct medal. PO Williams joined the Navy in the same year the UK and Italian Governments signed a joint agreement to design and build the Merlin helicopter and it is fitting that 30 years on he receives this recognition of his sterling service stood in front of the aircraft that has been such a large part of his professional life.”