CULDROSE TURNS OUT IN FORCE FOR DIVISIONS
Nearly one thousand sailors from HMS Seahawk mustered in a hangar at Culdrose for the largest Ceremonial Divisions in living memory at the Fleet Air Arm’s West Cornish air station.
The gathering allowed RNAS Culdrose’s new Commanding Officer Captain Ade Orchard OBE to get to know his men and women and to reward those whose recent actions were worthy of recognition.
Dressed in their finest uniforms, their breasts bristling with medals, men and women assigned to HMS Seahawk – the air station itself rather than the nine Naval Air Squadrons which call the Cornish base their home – turned out in force for Ceremonial Divisions.
Historically Divisions are held to allow a ship’s or unit’s commanding officer to see all the men and women in their charge – in this case Capt Ade Orchard, who took charged of the air base on the Lizard peninsula in mid-January.
He took the opportunity to present Long Service and Good Conduct medals and clasps to seven personnel, as well as an Operational Service Medal to Leading Airman Richard Fisher for his recent service inHelmand.
“We have just returned from a long period operating in Afghanistan and there are people with chests full of medals who are testament to this,” said Capt Orchard, who himself flew Harrier combat missions overAfghanistan.
With Operation Herrick – codename for the British mission inHelmand– now complete, Culdrose is focusing its efforts in particular on paving the way for supporting the nation’s future flagships.
RNAS Culdrose is set to provide both airborne early warning and anti-submarine Merlin helicopters for the Royal Navy’s new carriers, train handlers who will marshal those aircraft as well as the F-35 Lightning II strike fighter, and the Hawks of the base’s ‘aggressor squadron’, 736 NAS are being used to both develop tactics and train crews for the new jets’ arrival.
Capt Orchard continued: “We look forward to a future in support of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – the strike aircraft carriers being built in Scotland – and the important role you will play in a new era for the Fleet Air Arm. We have a busy time ahead.”