RNR Air Branch ratings enjoy Sultan's hospitality
The Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch Ratings’ Training Weekend 2013 was held for the first time at HMS Sultan, the Royal Navy’s primary engineering establishment for Marine and Air Engineers and home to the RN Survival School.
Every year a different location is chosen to host the Air Branch Ratings conference and this is the only time in the year that they muster as a team. For the remainder of the year they are integrated into departments, squadrons and workshops at RNAS Yeovilton, RNAS Culdrose, 1710 Squadron and HMS Sultan and work with the RN in support of the Fleet Air Arm.. This year it was decided to take up the kind offer of Warrant Officer Air Engineering Mechanic Dave Pottle, Base Warrant Officer of HMS Sultan for the use of his substantial Mess and establishment’s facilities.
“Because of the unique way the RNR Air Branch operates, this has always proved a great chance to get everyone updated on current issues,” said Commander Gary Duffield, Commander (Air Engineering) for the Branch. “It’s a busy 4 days for the permanent staff but it’s well worth the effort and its great to see all of the team in one place .”
Through a bespoke programme of lectures and briefings with a captive audience, guest speakers and serving personnel were able to focus on topics associated with the Queen Elizabeth Carrier programme and the F35 Joint Strike Fighter project, as well as mandatory briefings on Drug and Alcohol and the Aviation Safety Management System (ASMS).
There were a number of Adventurous Training and team building activities over the three-day event. One of the highlights being the being extensive walking excursions along theStokesBayand Lee onSolentseafronts, bringing back fond memories when HMS Daedalus at Lee was the centre for Fleet Air Arm engineering training. A number of personnel also took the opportunity to complete their annual fitness tests and the PTI was surprised by the age profile of the participants; everyone passed!
Assistant Chief of Staff Carrier Strike Aviation (ACOS CSAV) Commodore Graeme Mackay was also on hand to give personnel a ‘View from the Top’ on current issues and a tantalising glimpse into the future of the Naval Aviation and how the new aircraft are looking as the Queen Elizabeth Carriers get closer to their in service dates.
The Guest of honour at the mess dinner this year was Commodore Andrew Jameson, Commander Maritime Reserves (CMR). During his speech he praised and thanked the Branch for its operational work and how practices in the branch are being rolled out across the Naval Reserve. He also took the chance to present medals and chat with members throughout the evening.
Presiding over his final Mess dinner as the Chief of the Air Branch was Chief Petty Officer John ‘Soups’ Campbell. He said, “The effort to put on an event like this doesn’t come from just one man. I’ve had a lot of help from HMS Sultan and the Warrant Officer and Seniors Mess. The few days we have together allow us to crack a lot on admin and mandatory exercises, one of the PTI’s said he’d never seen some many enthusiastic participants for the annual fitness test. Sultan and the surrounding area have a lot to offer and we shall look at coming here again in the future.”