51 Sqn’s Commendations and RAF Sporting Colours Award Ceremony
2014 was a very busy year for 51 Squadron; it began with a short workup followed by a 5-month operational deployment to the Middle East.
Throughout this period all of the Sqn’s personnel were involved in time- consuming tasks and aspects of predeployment preparation, without which this essential deployment may not have been possible. It is credit to the values of several Squadron personnel that time was still found during this period to dedicate time and effort into extra Station sporting and charitable activities. On 13th January this year, Gp Capt Barrow OBE RAF, took the time to visit the Squadron HQ and award commendations in recognition of these exceptional performances, which contributed to the delivery of RAF Waddington’s mission, or enhanced the life of those living and working within the Station’s community.
Sgt Kev Brothwell was worthy of special recognition for his outstanding organisation of the highly successful RAF Waddington Station Boxing Night held on 6th March 2014.
The boxing match pitched the RAF boxing team against the Royal Artillery Team and was the culmination of over 6 months’ meticulous and detailed planning. At the time this article goes to print, this event will have been held for the second successive year, and is tipped to be even more popular than last year. Organised as a charitable event, Brothwell was responsible for raising the sum of £4500, which was split evenly between the Royal British Legion Rehabilitation Centre and a local Service family. Engagement with many different Service and civilian partners was key to his success and he demonstrated exceptional leadership, management and diplomacy in achieving the task. The event put RAF Waddington and the wider RAF under the spotlight and Sgt Brothwell ensured that the outcome was positive for all concerned.
The swift and effective work-up of the Squadron in the weeks and months leading up to the deployment would not have been possible without access to high-quality synthetic training, and more specifically the training and certification of the Squadron Mission Commanders. As part of the AIRSEEKER programme, L-3 Communications facilitated early delivery of the Mini- Mission Crew Training System (Mini-MCTS) in 2013. This system consists of 3 operator workstations and an integrated scenario control console. Acting entirely on their own initiative, MAcr Ash Glazsher, FS Steve Sarginson and Mr Steve Vanderclute (L3) quickly established the Mini-MCTS Team and, following a period of acceptance, commissioning and accreditation, immediately set about the complex task of fully exploiting the device’s extensive utility. In the first instance, the Team developed a series of scenarios specifically designed to support UK Mission Commander training, accurately simulating Strategic as well as Contingency mission profiles and proving an exceptional training environment for both students and instructors. Furthermore, additional scenarios were painstakingly developed to support cadre training throughout the mission crew, enabling personnel to appropriately prepare for operational deployments and upgrade training alike. Through their determination the Team has undoubtedly significantly enhanced mission crew training provision on 51 Squadron, and enabled effective personnel to deploy to theatre without delay. Without their efforts, the impact to operator upgrade and UK Mission Commander training would have been significantly hampered.
Other commendations were awarded for Sgt Dominic North’s outstanding contribution to Sqn SERE policies and training and Sgt Andrew Green’s exemplary management skills demonstrated during his involvement with the ‘Royal Air Force On Air’ project for the 2014 RAF Waddington Air Show, a project ordinarily headed up by a Sqn Ldr. Gp Capt Barrow also took the opportunity to present RAF Sporting Colours to three members of the Squadron. Sqn Ldr Bowyer, MAcr Boatman and CT Howard were awarded these for their representation of the RAF at the 2013 inter-service shore angling championships. The whole morning made for a truly positive way to bring in the New Year on the Squadron, and to reward specific individuals for their hard work. 2015 promises to be another high tempo, operationally focussed year, but one in which we hope others on 51 Squadron may find time to enhance the life of those living and working within the Station’s community.