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Merlin Course, Centre Commanding Officer Major William Penkman, Backdrop Merlin Helicopter
Merlin Role Demonstration
Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE FRAes Head of the Fleet Air Arm


Published: 23 Sep 2016

COMMANDO Pilots and Aircrewmen joined together to celebrate the presentation of Wings and Operational Flying certificates.


Merlin Mk 3 Commando Course 25 paraded proudly in the presence of family and friends to receive Their ‘Wings’ and Certificates from Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE FRAes, Head of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years.


The 25 newly graduated Pilots and Aircrewmen alongside recipients of Merlin Conversion Qualification (the change to a different aircraft type) stood proudly as they prepared to begin the next chapter in their career with the FAA. Pilots will move to the frontline where they can be expected to be involved in operations worldwide in support of Govt Defence Policy.


Aircrewmen will or join either 845 or 846 Naval Air Squadrons (NAS) at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS)Yeovilton, where they will be at 5 days’ notice to deploy anywhere in the world.


Aircrewman Corporal (Cpl) Ryan Sceats (29) joined the Royal Marines in 2005. During his 11 year career he has been deployed worldwide including two tours in Afghanistan. He completed his initial Aircrew training at RAF Shawbury 2014/15 before progressing onto Merlin Mk3 at 846NAS. His family, including his three nieces, Nancy (22 months), Sienna (16 months) and Savana (11 weeks). Cpl Sceats said;


It’s great to be here on 846 you feel part of the Fleet Air Arm family and its made even more special with having my family here all the way from Kent. My nieces are as excited as me but they can get away with running around here in the hangar not so sure I could! I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead with 846 whatever that may and wherever that may take me.”


Commando Helicopter Force are known as the ‘Junglies’ a name given to them associated with the 1963 Malayan conflict and although based here at RNAS Yeovilton they have the flexibility to deploy anywhere in the world at very short notice. With the introduction of the new Aircraft Carriers and the need to respond to any event that threatens our security or national interests course members could find themselves utilising their professional expertise, flexibility and ‘Junglie cunning’ not only over the next few months but for the rest of their Naval careers.


Good luck to you all! 


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