New Captain takes command at RNAS Culdrose
A new commanding officer has taken charge at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.
Captain Stuart Irwin (pictured left) assumed command of RNAS Culdrose today, July 12, from Captain Stuart Finn (left).
Personnel from across RNAS Culdrose gathered in an aircraft hangar to witness the handover and give Capt Finn three cheers.
Thanking the assembled sailors and civilians, Captain Finn highlighted the role of many of his personnel who have worked in hospitals or with ambulances services in the last two years, supporting the NHS through the pandemic.
He said: “You did so in the very finest traditions of the service and every single one of you has seen death first-hand, and had to go and speak to the families of those who have just died in front of you. That takes a certain sort of person.”
He pointed to other major developments such as the retirement of the Hawk jets from Culdrose and the introduction of new drones and remotely-piloted aircraft.
Addressing the assembled parade, he said: “You are the beating heart of the Fleet Air Arm and you are the beating heart of this nation’s first line of defence. It has been my honour to serve alongside you.”
Captain Irwin then arrived and said to the parade that taking command of an air station was “every aviator’s dream job”.
He said the future of Culdrose and the Merlin force was assured and of vital importance to the defence of the country, Europe and NATO.
“I am hugely excited to come to Culdrose as your new captain,” he said. “The people at Culdrose, serving and civilian, with unstinting support from the local community and wider people of Cornwall, have made a huge contribution to UK defence for 75 years.
“In an increasingly dangerous world, that contribution is more important now than ever. The focus is firmly on the capabilities that maritime aviation offers and the expertise that makes the squadrons at Culdrose unique, protecting the people and interests of the UK at home and overseas.”
Captain Irwin joined the Royal Navy in 1998 and spent his front-line aviation in Lynx Mk3 and Mk8 maritime attack helicopters, as pilot and flight commander frequently deployed in frigates and destroyers from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and the Pacific to the Gulf.
He has been an experimental test pilot and a maritime counter-terrorism flight commander as well as senior pilot and executive officer with 815 Naval Air Squadron.