ROYAL NAVY PILOT RECOGNISED IN BIRTHDAY HONOURS
A Royal Navy officer fromWalsallhas been awarded an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Commander Matt Punch, 36, who was the Senior Pilot of 845 Naval Air Squadron ‘demonstrated vision and commitment and was central to the success of the Squadron during an unprecedented period of change’.
He played a significant role in the programme to replace the veteran Sea King helicopters with brand new Merlin Mark 3 aircraft – which provides a significant boost to the Navy’s airpower. During this time Cdr Punch also ensured the squadron met all of its operational, contingent and training commitments.
The citation read: “Deftly combining leadership, experience and expertise, you were instrumental in directing, coordinating and managing the development of future force structures, in particular merging three Commando Naval Air Squadrons into one entity. Your efforts played a pivotal role in ensuring that defence was provided with the appropriate capability at a time when continued availability was crucial.”
Cdr Punch, who now the Commanding Officer of 845 NAS, said he was extremely proud to be recognised in the Honours List.
“I am delighted to be recognised for playing my part in a very challenging but exciting period of change for the Commando Helicopter Force and Fleet Air Arm, as the Sea King goes out of service and is replaced by the Merlin,” he said. “However, anything I have achieved has only been possible because of the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of everyone I have served with on 845 Naval Air Squadron.
“I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to serve as Squadron Senior Pilot, it is a hugely rewarding job and has been the highlight of my career.”
Cdr Punch, who attended Queen Mary’s Grammar School inWalsallbefore joining the Royal Navy in 1999 is married with two daughters.