Change of Command On V(AC) Squadron
In early October V(AC) Squadron redeployed to support Op SHADER and the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq with two Sentinels deploying to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
The recently departed Boss, Wing Commander ‘Moose’ Melville, led the Detachment during which he flew his 1,000th hour on the Sentinel, flew his last Sentinel sortie and even went flying on Operations on his birthday as a special treat – with cake, card and present from the detachment! Following Wg Cdr Melville’s departure the Squadron Flight Commanders rotated through giving them valuable exposure as Detachment Commanders.
Whilst detached the Squadron was also honoured to be told we had been awarded a new Battle Honour for Libya Operations in 2011 – hurrah! The final aircraft returned in mid-December to enable a period of Force generation prior to further Operations in 2018.
Whilst the RAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Wings exist to process, fuse and disseminate the intelligence gained from our platforms, Sentinel analysts are highly trained subject matter experts and have been working to improve the immediate post-flight products that the Squadron disseminates. This was rolled-out with great success during the Detachment and Senior Commanders now benefit from greatly enhanced Strategic intelligence products directly delivered before the aircraft engines are cold. These products have been so well received amongst partner Nations that the Squadron was honoured to receive two awards in the New Year Honours list; OC B Flight, Squadron Leader Graham Orme, received a CAS Commendation whilst Flight Sergeant’s Tony Lindon and Mark Sumner were awarded an AOC 1 Gp Team Award for leading the enhancements.
What a fantastic start for the New Boss, Wing Commander ‘Dutch’ Holland, who joined in early December. He has already made an excellent impression at the Squadron Christmas meal – declaring that he’ll be inviting the team around for beverages. We welcome him warmly whilst extending our thanks to Wing Commander Melville for his unwavering efforts in shaping Squadron output and wider awareness of our capabilities both as a Flight Commander and Boss; Good luck and thank you from us all.