CAPTAIN MARK GARRATT DEPARTS CULDROSE IN STYLE
Marking his final day in charge at HMS Seahawk, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Captain Mark Garratt the outgoing Commanding Officer, said an emotional farewell to the Fleet Air Arm’s Cornish Air Base in true style.
Aircrew, Engineers and support staff as well as civilians from squadrons and Units at the Air Station lined a route for his departure in an Audi R8. Touring as many areas as possible he visited work areas across the Base finishing off with a drive along the main runway. He departs Culdrose for a spot of leave before taking up his next appointment.
Captain Garratt took command of RNAS Culdrose in April 2013 and over an extremely busy 21 month period for the Base, takes with him some very fond memories. Royal Visits from the Queen and the Duke of York were particular highlights as well as senior naval officers on periodic visits toCornwall.
His time in charge has also marked some key events in Fleet Air Arm history, notably the introduction and acceptance into frontline service of Merlin Mk 2 and Ex. Deep Blue, when Merlin Force generated Nine Merlins Mk 2s for HMS Illustrious’ final swan song.
The period also saw the end of the ‘Baggers’, Sea King Mk 7’s involvement inAfghanistan, bringing to an end over six years of deployments in support of Operation Herrick. Captain Mark has also overseen the formation of two new FAA Squadrons; 736 NAS with their Hawks fast jets and 700X NAS, who stood up in the later part of 2014as the Royal Navy’s first unmanned aircraft system (UAS) squadron. They operate the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle surveillance UAS which is set to expand in the coming years.
All this, and the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new Aircraft Carrier at Rosyth in Scotland last year, which heralds a bright future for the West Cornwall Naval Air Station’s involvement in supporting Carrier Operations.
“It’s been a most rewarding and busy time in my career, to have commanded RNAS Culdrose”, said Captain Mark Garratt. “Cornwall has been such a wonderful experience and a great place to live and work. Not everyone in my position gets to run their own Royal Naval Air Station and I feel immensely proud to have done so”.