Culdrose Top Engineer Receives a Medal from the Youngest Engineer
The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal of the Royal Navy is awarded to personnel who have served for 15 years and kept a clean record of good behaviour. Some would say, ‘15 years of undetected crime’. This medal has been awarded to Ratings or Non-Commissioned officers since it came into existence in its current form in 1848. Officers only became eligible last year.
Among the recipients at Culdrose was Commander Jeff Bell, the outgoing Commander Air Engineering at Culdrose. He is responsible for all aircraft engineering matters at Culdrose. Commander Bell asked if the youngest person in the Air Engineering department would present his medal. One of the trainee engineers, Air Engineering Technician (AET) Mark ‘Jack’ Sparrow, just 18 years and 6 months, had the honour of doing so.
AET ‘Jack’ Sparrow was delighted to present the top engineer with his medal. He said that he remembers the first words that Commander Jeff Bell said to him when he joined Culdrose.
“I put a lot of trust onto you [Air Engineers]. You are the first set of people to lay eyes on our aircraft when they’ve just arrived, and you are also the last set of people to check the aircraft before it leaves. Our first and last defence.”
AET ‘Jack’ Sparrow remembers how this affected him. ‘The words he uttered still echo in my ear. The responsibility confided in us by our most superior officer, Commander Jeff Bell, started to sink in my thoughts. The overwhelming amount of faith put into the hands of every AET was just dawning on me.’
Jack joined the Royal Navy in July last year. He commenced his Royal Navy training at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, Cornwall. From there he went to HMS Sultan for engineering training. He is currently undergoing Merlin engineering training and is due to complete his course in January next year. He will then join one of the Merlin Squadrons at Culdrose and will find himself embarking in Royal Navy ships, defending the UK’s interests anywhere in the world. Jack is keen to progress his career and gain as many engineering and academic qualifications as he can. Once he is fully trained and has gained more experience, he would like to be considered for Officer and Aircrew.