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29 June 2017

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Chief of the Air Staff Pilots C-130J Hercules to Present Commendation in Germany

On Thursday 15 June 2017, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sir Stephen Hillier, visited Number XXIV Squadron, based at Royal Air Force Brize Norton, to regain his flying currency on the C-130J Hercules.

Chief of the Air Staff Pilots C-130J Hercules to Present Commendation in Germany

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier was welcomed by the Station Commander, Group Captain Tim Jones, and was then hosted by Officer Commanding Number XXIV Squadron, Wing Commander Gareth Burdett, and Squadron Flying Instructor, Flight Lieutenant Jim Roden. The Chief of the Air Staff, who is also a Tornado GR4 pilot, completed ground school refreshers and simulator training, delivered by Flight Lieutenant Andrew Griffiths, who is also a Squadron Instructor.

Chief of the Air Staff Pilots C-130J Hercules to Present Commendation in Germany

During his visit to the Squadron, CAS formally opened the new computerised de-briefing facility called the ‘Flemington Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Suite’, named after Flight Lieutenant Luke Flemington, who was the Captain of the first C-130J Hercules to enter Libya in 2011. During his second sortie in Libya, his aircraft was hit by small arms fire, Flemington ensured the safe return of the aircraft, the 50 evacuees on board, and the crew.

With an early start to the second day, CAS and his crew planned their route to Wunstorf, Germany. A plethora of Squadron members were on board to watch CAS present his Certificate of Commendation to Major Maik Drescher for his sterling work for No. XXIV Squadron, while on a recent exchange tour; ‘the Dresch’ brought a significant amount of German efficiency to his role as Flight Commander Strategic Training, regularly going above and beyond the normal duties expected of him in his primary role.

Chief of the Air Staff Pilots C-130J Hercules to Present Commendation in Germany

As CAS arrived in Wunstorf, after a very nice landing, he was met by General Major Günter Katz, the German Commander of all flying Units. A presentation ceremony was held followed by bratwurst and other refreshments.

Chief of the Air Staff Pilots C-130J Hercules to Present Commendation in Germany

Major Maik Drescher said: “This came as a real surprise and I’m very touched to receive this honour and see my XXIV Squadron friends again. I’d like to thank CAS for personally delivering this award to me, given that he is a very busy man!”

Upon returning to RAF Brize Norton, CAS received a very short de-brief from his flying instructor, indicating how well his refresher training had gone.

Number XXIV Squadron would like to thank CAS, his support staff, and everyone involved at RAF Brize Norton, for an enjoyable and productive visit.

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