2623 (East Anglian)
Station name: RAF Honington
Station address: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP31 1EE
Motto: Gebeorgan ond Werian (Anglo-Saxon meaning 'Protect and defend')
Mission: To provide personnel trained in RAF Regiment force protection skills to support exercises and operations worldwide or to support the Defence CBRN Wing.
Get in touch: 0345 606 9069
More about this squadron
Based at RAF Honington, 2623 (East Anglian) Squadron is one of the six RAF Reserves units with a Force Protection role. The unit consists chiefly of RAF Regiment gunners trained in infantry skills, but it also has a limited number of personnel in support duties. The unit also has a specialised role in support of the Defence Chemical Radiological Biological and Nuclear (CRBN) Wing at RAF Honington.
Roles and specialist skills
Gunners are required to master a range of skills, including infantry tactics, covert observation, target acquisition and close combat. Gunners also receive specialist weapons training, and become expert at handling everything from a bayonet to an anti-tank missile. The RAF Regiment needs to operate 24 hours a day, in any weather, so our Gunners become skilled in the use of the latest night-vision aids and other surveillance equipment.
The progressively challenging training begins with general service knowledge and basic foot drill, before moving onto weapons and tactics, signals, first-aid and off-road driving. 2623 Squadron’s Gunners also receive additional CBRN training as part of the unit’s support to the Defence CRBN Wing at Honington. This gives the unit a dual capability, and members can be mobilised either in a conventional RAF Regiment Field Force role, or for specialised CRBN work.
Combat training is physically and mentally demanding and can take place anywhere in the world, from the jungle to the Arctic. Gunners need to be fit, active and prepared to endure difficult and demanding situations.
For reasons of combat effectiveness, women cannot be accepted for this role.
The squadron was formed in 1979 and tasked with the ground defence of RAF Honington to prevent Soviet Special Forces from disrupting flying operations. In this role the unit formed an integral part of RAF Honington's war-fighting capability for 15 years.
Following a brief period of disbandment in the 1990s, 2623 Squadron changed roles twice, first to provide centralised training to Reserve field squadrons and then to provide support to the RAF Regiment’s Ground Based Air Defence Force, operating the Rapier surface-to-air missile system.
In 2003, the unit was deployed to take over the air defence of the Falkland Islands. Following the 2004 Defence Review, Rapier was relinquished and the unit resumed its original ground defence role, but with added CBRN training – initially as a key element of the Joint CBRN Regiment and then more recently as part of the Defence CBRN Wing.
In 2010, Her Majesty Queen awarded the unit a Squadron Standard, making it one of only four units to have received this honour within the RAF Reserves.
Since 2003, many of our Reservists have been deployed on operational tours to the Falkland Islands, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.