NEW COMMANDING OFFICER AT RNAS CULDROSE
Captain Dan Stembridge Royal Navy has taken over as Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose from Captain Ade Orchard OBE, who has moved to his new appointment in California as part of the F35 B Lightning II project.
Captain Stembridge joined the Royal Navy in 1989 and on completion of flying training was appointed to 815 NAS, HMS York Flight as a Maritime Attack Lynx pilot, operating in support of the NATO Mission in the Former Yugoslavia. This was followed by two years embarked in HMS Exeter, where he completed deployments to the Middle East and a period in direct support of operations in Somalia. Staying with Lynx he moved onto 702 NAS in 1995 as Instrument Rating Instructor Staff Pilot, training Lynx Observers both embarked and ashore.
Having successfully passed for fast jet selection he subsequently joined 801 NAS in 1999 flying the Sea Harrier FA2 embarked in HMS Illustrious, and went onto fly operational missions in support of Operation Southern Watch over Iraq and Operation Palliser in Sierra Leone. He then completed an Air Warfare Instructors (AWI) Course in 2002 and instructed student pilots on 899 NAS, before an appointment back to 801 NAS as Squadron AWI embarked in HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible, where he again deployed to the Gulf.
An exchange appointment with the United States Navy at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake followed, flying the FA-18E/F Super Hornet and Harrier AV8-B, carrying out Operational Test missions in support to operations. Selected as the Executive Officer for the Strike Fighter Division, he was day/night Carrier Qualified in the Super Hornet and embarked in the USS Ronald Reagan. On return to the UK in 2007 he attended senior staff course, before promotion to Commander and an appointment to the MoD in London as the F-35B desk officer. Selected for Command of 800 NAS in 2010, he subsequently took up the position of Executive Officer RNAS Yeovilton following the SDSR defence review 2010 and the decision to disband Joint Force Harrier and decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal.
After presiding over an 18 month service Inquiry he was selected to stand-up and Command the Royal Navy’s Fixed Wing Force, spanning 3 aircraft types at 2 Air Stations. On promotion to Captain, he was again appointed to London as Chief of Staff, Carrier Enabled Power Projection, co-ordinating the delivery of the Carriers with its Air Group and advising ministers during SDSR 15.
Captain Dan Stembridge said on becoming the Commanding Officer, “It is a really great honour to be returning and awarded command of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. It is the largest and busiest air station in the Royal Navy and we have some interesting times ahead as we prepare for the Nations Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. I can’t wait to get started”