ROYAL NAVY PILOT RECEIVES QUEEN’S COMMENDATION FOR VALUABLE SERVICE
LIEUTENANT Graeme Hamish Walker is among the recipients of the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service announced in today’s Military operation honours list.
The award is for his efforts as flight pilot of 200 Flight onboard HMS Daring – specifically his contribution in providing aid in the wake of Philippines Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.
Lieutenant (Lt) Walker, from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton was the only Lynx Helicopter Pilot embarked in HMS Daring during the operation. Over a period of eight flying days, he was engaged in intensive, high pressure flying operations conducting not only reconnaissance sorties covering 1400 Nautical Miles of coastline but also transporting 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid and the movement of 247 personnel.
Immediately on entry into the Typhoon area, two days of reconnaissance flying facilitated the production of some 4,000 photographs and several hours of video footage, which Lt Walker was instrumental in evaluating and the information used to track the path of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan. This information proved absolutely critical to the ship, the UN, other militaries and numerous aid agencies to target humanitarian aid where it was needed most.
Due to the inhospitable and inaccessible coastline, an enormous reliance was placed on the Lynx for the delivery of stores and personnel, with daily flying operations of between six and nine hours a day in temperatures of 30 degrees and above. These potentially hazardous conditions required long periods of intense concentration and excellent flying skills to operate the aircraft effectively and safely.
Lt Walker was one of 26 Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel recognised at the Tri-Service Operational Honours and Awards event held at Lancaster House in London.