Australia Shield awarded to 847NAS
Wednesday the 18th of July saw the presentation of the Australia Shield to 847 Naval Air Squadron. This was a prestigious event, attended by a number of personnel from RNAS Yeovilton and further afield. Rear Admiral Cunningham CBE, Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm, was the presenting officer.
The Australia Shield is awarded annually to the most Operationally Capable squadron in the Fleet Air Arm. During the period 2011-2012, 847 NAS deployed on Op HERRICK in Afghanistan, Op ELLAMY off the coast of Libya, and supported numerous exercises, both in the UK and Norway. During early 2012, one third of the squadron engineering manpower was loaned to the Wildcat Fielding Team (Army), in order to enable flying operations to begin at RNAS Yeovilton on this new and exciting aircraft.
The squadron paraded inside the 847 NAS hangar, for the presentation ceremony, where both the squadron Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Venn Royal Marines and Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham were keen to stress the significance of the award, especially during what had been a very busy year for all units of the Fleet Air Arm. A number of additional awards were also presented to squadron personnel. These included a Flight Safety Good Show award to Naval Airman Jeremy Card, for his contribution to flight safety, and a Certificate of Competence to Lieutenant Mike Wells Royal Navy, marking a key milestone in the development of a Naval pilot’s career and a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal to Chief petty Officer Peter Rogers.
The culmination of the ceremony was the presentation of the Australia Shield which was received by Chief Petty Officer Steven Bell on behalf of the squadron, and the pride was evident in the faces of the personnel on parade. In his closing address, Rear Admiral Cunningham read a message of goodwill from Her Majesty the Queen to those in the Naval Service, taking the opportunity to convey her order to “Splice the Mainbrace”. This is a Naval tradition that dates back to the days of sail and allows those ordered to partake in a tot of rum paid for by the monarch.
After the ceremony, the assorted guests had the opportunity to meet squadron personnel and take a closer look at the Wildcat aircraft on display. The squadron is due to deploy once again to Afghanistan in the New Year, and so with the parade complete, the squadron has now turned its attention towards the task ahead.
Undoubtedly the future brings numerous challenges and exciting developments for 847 NAS. The award of the Australia Shield for the year 2011/2012 was a fitting way to celebrate the squadron’s successes and to formally recognise the hard work and professionalism of all personnel concerned.