ACDS (Reserves & Cadets) visits RNR Air Branch
The Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets), Major General John Crackett TD, paid a welcoming visit to the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton to see how the Fleet Air Arm’s Reserve operates.
General Crackett is the highest ranking reservist in the Armed Forces and his position as ACDS (R&C) carries the responsibility for all policies relating to reserves and cadet forces from the Navy, Army and Air Force.
Visiting Yeovilton and the Royal Navy for the first time, General Crackett found himself in a familiar environment, being a pilot himself. His fact finding tour took in some of the business areas where Air Branch personnel are employed. He was briefed by Royal Navy commanders of the Commando Helicopter Force, Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force and the Fixed Wing Force all of whom routinely employ RNR Air Branch officers and ratings in all aviation specializations and trades, including RNR pilots flying the Hawk T1 of the recently commissioned 736 Naval Air Squadron.
The visit offered the senior Army General a good opportunity to see what the Royal Navy does and how FAA’s reservists operate as part of their regular counterparts. During his whistle stop tour of the Air Station he met some members of the Branch. “Many Air Branch Reservists at Yeovilton are in Key roles,” said Lieutenant Commander Mike West, Operations Officer for 848 Naval Air Squadron, himself a reservist working part time. “My job on the Junglie Sea King Training Squadron requires a high degree of continuity that allows the busy and varied programme to run.”
With Head of the Air Branch unable to attend as he has recently started a new civilian job, the visit was hosted by Commander Ian Halliday RD RNR. “It’s not every day we host the most senior man at the top. He was certainly given a broad view of the Fleet Air Arm today and he asked some interesting questions during the briefs; he had done his homework! The way the Air Branch functions as a Unit is going to be important in the future as more reliance is placed on the Reserve. It was a positive visit and he definitely enjoyed his day with us”.