COMMENDATIONS FOR GRITROCK SQUADRON SAILORS
Three members of 820 Naval Air Squadron have been doubly rewarded for their sheer hard work and dedication during Operation Gritrock - theUK’s response to the Ebola Crisis inSierra Leone.
Chief Petty Officer Aircrewman (CACMN) Joe Shelverton and Petty Officer Air Engineer Technician (POAET) Jack Malcolm picked up Ebola Medals for Service inWest Africaas well as Joint and Task Force Commander’s Commendations, Presented by Captain Adrian Orchard OBE, Commanding Officer RNAS Culdrose, for their commitment to Operation Gritrock. Both Joe and Jack were grateful and are very proud, of not only their own personal efforts, but also the whole squadron’s effort during a gruelling six month deployment onboard RFA Argus off the coast ofSierra Leone.
CACMN Joe Shelverton’s Task Force Commander’s Commendation reflex’s his dedication, focus and sheer hard work across a number of areas during the deployment. “820 really pulled together during Gritrock,” said Joe. “Transforming our Merlins from their Anti-submarine role to a support helicopter was a team effort and new to a lot of people. But we hit the ground running when we arrived and I’m proud what we achieved and it shows the versatility of the Squadron.”
POAET Jack Malcolm was awarded a Joint Commander's Commendation for his pivotal role as the squadron’s Helicopter Handling Instructor (HHI). Jack was responsible for rigging and making up the under slung loads ready for the Merlin helicopters to lift ashore to landing sites across the country. Personally inspecting and deploying over 400 loads during a particular busy offload, he remained on the flight deck for 48 hours whilst the operation took place.
Jack said, “Overall it been a very humbling experience. Many of the landing sites in Sierra Leone were swamped with little children who were just so happy to see us and those memories will stay with me for a very long time.”
Along with the Sierra Leone Commendations given to Joe and Jack, Warrant Officer 1 Aircrewman Jay O’Donnell was presented with his Warrant Officers Parchment in recognition of his promotion. Jay was also presented with his Ebola West African Medal in front of a delighted audience of families and friend from of 820 NAS personnel.