18 (B) Sqn
18 (B) Squadron is based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire, where it operates the Boeing Chinook HC2 in the Support Helicopter role. It has two Operational Flights (A and B Flt), an Operational Conversion Flight (C Flt or the OCF) and a HQ Flight.
The Operational flights (A and B) work a cycle of detachments, training, tasking and stand-bys. When the flight is “home” at Odiham the crews train in tactical low flying, instrument and airways flying, night flying using Night Vision Goggles, fighter evasion, electronic warfare and many other skills to keep them current and practised for regular and short notice detachments to world “hot spots”. They also take part in exercises, often deploying to the field in support of the Army or more commonly joint exercises with all three Services and other nations. The flights also regularly train for all environments, such as Arctic training in Norway and desert training in Morocco and Jordan. On top of the training and exercises the flights also conduct tasking in the UK and Europe moving troops, equipment and unusual or heavy loads.
The role of HQ Flight is an important one. They provide administrative and personnel support to the squadron, but primarily they provide continuity for the Operational Flights who lead a turbulent lifestyle.
In recent years, personnel from 18(B) Squadron have been involved in all the major conflicts where British Forces have deployed. This includes Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and most recently Afghanistan.
Life on 18 (B) Squadron is certainly challenging and is often one of extremes, from mundane tasking to extremely exciting flying, from training sorties based at Odiham to field deployments in draughty tents, and you are often unsure as to what surprises the next day will bring. With the current commitments around the world all personnel on 18 (B) Squadron spend a lot of time away from home and a lot of hard work and effort is required both at home and away to keep crews and aircraft flying. 18 (B) Squadron has a good spirit and a long history and will continue to go on “with courage and faith”.