Royal Air Force Regiment Squadron Returns Home Safely From Operations In Afghanistan
No 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, who are based at RAF Honington, near Bury St Edmunds have returned home from a demanding 6 month tour in Afghanistan where they were responsible for the defence of Camp Bastion, including the aircraft that fly in and out of the base in Helmand Province.
No 2 Sqn Royal Air Force Regiment is one of five Units under the command of No 3 Royal Air Force, Force Protection Wing, the others being No 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, No 2 Royal Air Force Tactical Police Squadron, a contingent from the Tongan Defence Service and a Troop from 11 Battery, Royal Artillery. The Force Protection Wing is part of Task Force Belleau Wood, a wider International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Coalition effort designed to deliver 24 hours a day protection of Camp Bastion and all personnel, so they can safely conduct 24 hour wider operations in Afghanistan. Commanded by a United States Marine Corp Regimental Command Team, the Task Force consists of personnel from the United States, Jordan, Georgia and Bosnia.
Squadron Leader Liam Mitchell (33), Officer Commanding 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment, stated:
“2 Sqn Royal Air Force Regiment has a long and proud history, spanning almost 92 years of defending the Royal Air Force on operations. It is extremely heartening to see just how far the security situation in Afghanistan has progressed throughout the period of the UK’s involvement and the Squadron is extremely proud to have played its part in that transition. This tour in Afghanistan saw us operating alongside many multi-national partners from the International Security Assistance Force as well as the Afghan National Security Forces. The motto of Task Force BELLEAU WOOD bonded us together through countless challenging times – One Team, One Fight.”
Members of 2 Squadron throughout the tour have been manning the towers around the perimeter as well as providing 24/7 force protection patrols within a 600km square area of operations around Camp Bastion. These duties have been vital in assisting with the continued safe withdrawal of ISAF troops and equipment from Afghanistan. Other members of the Squadron have supported those on the ground by performing the exceptionally important engineering, communications, logistics and administrative functions required to keep both the Wing and Squadron operating.
Flying Officer David Rayfield (27) from Southampton and a Flight Commander on No 2 Squadron stated: “The highlight of the 6 month tour for me was definitely working as part of a multi-national force alongside Danish and US military. I suppose the low point will always be missing family and friends so the specialist phones that allow us to contact our families are really important!”
No 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment returned home from Afghanistan at the beginning of November and will be parading through the Squadron’s home town of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk on the 11 January 2014, after a period of well earned leave. Squadron Leader Liam Mitchell concluded:
“I am extremely proud to have commanded the officers, Royal Air Force Regiment Gunners and Airmen of 2 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment throughout this tour of duty in Afghanistan. The Squadron has delivered outstanding results despite austere conditions and protracted separation from home, all in the face of a determined and dangerous enemy. I offer my heartfelt thanks to the families and loved ones of all II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment personnel for their unwavering support; their contribution to our operational output is extremely valuable. It only remains for me to wish our successors on 51 and 58 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment the very best of luck for a safe and successful tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Editor: Sqn Ldr Willmot
Photographs: Cpl Robinson and SAC Dines
(Header Image) Group Capt Scott Miller, Commander Regt and Station Cdr Honington presents Afghan medals with Councillor Terry Buckle the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds.
2 Sqn Para wgs, Regt mudguards and the RAF Ensign.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014