AWARDS SEASON AT THE FLEET AIR ARM
In recognition and acknowledgement of the exceptional Royal Naval Personnel in the Fleet Air Arm, their achievements and excellent contributions to UK naval aviation Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton hosted the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) Awards.
Commodore (Cdre) John Pentreath OBE, Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton welcomed all to the ceremony including the first Wildcat Wings Parade on 825 Naval Air Squadron.
As the FAA transitions to Wildcat HMA from Lynx Mk 8 which goes out of service in March 2017 today marked the first ab-initio (from the start) Wings parade for Wildcat presented by Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE FRAeS, Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm. Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Aviation, Amphibious Capability & Carriers)
Rear Admiral Blount addressed the ceremony on the prominence of the FAA, he said;
“The Fleet Air Arm is an important, effective and respected part of the Royal Naval Service and a part of our Navy that is delivering on a daily basis. In the last 12 months the amount of time we have spent at sea has increased remarkably. Across the Fleet Air Arm embarked days in 2015 were up by 60% compared to 2014 and in Joint Helicopter Command embarked days rose by 150%. This marks a real return to maritime aviation.”
After a six years of a demanding and challenging workload Lieutenant (Lt) Kev Regan was awarded his Observer Wings. On becoming a Wildcat Observer Lt Regan said
“It’s been a 6 year process with a demanding work load and many hurdles to overcome. The Observer course is widely regarded as one of the most difficult training courses in the Royal Navy so to be successful in joining such a select, highly professional and utterly dedicated team of people fills me with great pride. Observer training demands very high levels of dedication and application, with a lot of self-study and motivation required. The reward is to be in charge of and effectively operate a state-of-the–art helicopter, so the hard work and effort is absolutely worth it! Joining the Royal Navy is without doubt the best decision I ever made!”
With the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth early next year the FAA will be placed at the centre of Royal Navy thinking and Royal Navy outputs for the next 50 years.
LT Simon Hall was awarded his Pilot Wings at the ceremony and said;
“I decided to join the Royal Navy shortly after leaving University because I wanted to fly helicopters and thought landing on the back of a small ship at night was one of the hardest things a helicopter pilot could do!”
There were many awards given at the ceremony recognising the exemplary service and commitment within the FAA and their spirit, ethos and camaraderie was acknowledged by Rear Admiral Blount who added;
Our operational pedigree is unquestionable however nothing would be achieved in our Service without the help support and love of our family and friends. We have an exciting future and I feel incredibly privileged and deeply proud to share it with you.”