Culdrose Aviators get their Wings for the Frontline
Witnessed by their families and friends, five personnel from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose have received their ‘Wings’ - a huge milestone in the career of naval aviators, marking the completion of their formal flying training and passage into the Front Line.
Vice Admiral Richard CB, Chief of Defence Intelligence, was guest of honour at the ceremony on Thursday 2nd August 2011. The Vice Admiral presented Wings badges and certificates to each of the five Observers graduating from the Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) Course from 849 Naval Air Squadron.
The event began with a short flying display featuring a number of different aircraft from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and the Black Cats Display Team from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton. This was followed by a ceremonial parade in the Squadrons’ new hangar, witnessed by the families and friends of the five wings recipients. 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 Naval Air Squadron to Operation Herrick in November, was the recipient of the Bell Davis Trophy and the Roue Trophy for achieving the best combined air and ground results on course.
Additional to the Wings Parade, 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 Naval Air Squadron) and can expect to serve in the forefront of current operations both at sea and ashore. Lieutenant Andy Bailey, who will deploy with 857 Naval Air Squadron to Operation Herrick in February said: “I’m extremely proud to receive my Observer Wings today. 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 frontline can expect to see service in locations around the globe and will be fortunate enough to serve in the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, expected to be operational towards the end of the decade.