It has been a busy period for 29. The Sqn has graduated 2 courses, said goodbye to several of its staff, welcomed some more, and of course, got within touching distance of Cyprus. However, all was not lost, and while XI Sqn sunned themselves on the beach, 29 departed Coningsby to operate from RAF Waddington.
In early September we sent Pockers and Killa (combined age: 96) to fly the flag and re-enforce our presence on the tiny peninsula of Gibraltar and partake in the Battle of Britain celebrations. Their safety pilots for the journey were Flt Sgt Barker and Sgt Coots. The 29 team were also there as part of the renaming ceremony for the headquarter building for RAF Gibraltar. The building had recently been renamed after a famous French pilot who managed to flee to the UK, through Gibraltar. Once back in the UK he continued his fight in the war flying Spitfires for the RAF.
In October a small group of 29 personnel enjoyed some AT on the beautiful island of Ascension. During their sub-aqua adventures they managed to write themselves into the history books by not only catching one of the largest Hawksbill turtles on record, but also by helping to fit the second ever GPS tracker to such a turtle!
A special mention must also be made to congratulate the engineering team, headed up by Flt Sgt York and Flt Sgt Proctor, for their labour of love getting the 29 Sqn Gate Guard into its current glorious state. Although the Lightning has been on display for a little while now, it has nonetheless recently been awarded with a Station Commander’s Commendation. Congratulations to all involved.
As part of the ever increasing student turnover we welcome Opcon 22, comprising Steve Moore, Wally (not to be confused with simulator Wally), Wildy, and finally Yoshi, our American Marine. Finally a steady flow of Abo’s instead of crusty old re-treads. We are also joined by Opcon 23; Jamie Lenox, Tori, James Milmine and Will Ricketts. Welcome to you too.
With one course arriving we must inevitably congratulate another. Opcon 21 recently graduated, sending Yorkie Beevers and Scott Noyes to XI Sqn whilst Bondy joins 3 Sqn. After finally finishing the course we welcome Sqn Ldr Batu, Aka ‘Tils’, as our newest Flt Cdr. It is with the arrival of our new OC B that we must say goodbye to Sqn Ldr Ewen Robertson who departs the Sqn to continue the good work at Warton. We wish yourself and the family all the best as you make your way closer to your motherland.
As Wg Cdr Pemberton’s time in charge of 29 Sqn draws to a close, he, along with a select team, recently spent the weekend in Austria furthering Anglo-Austrian relations whilst gaining an insight into how one of the other Typhoon nations run their Sqn. He took with him the XO, to carry his bags, Stuka, Ben W-B, Mike Mason, and 8 engineers under the guidance of Flt Sgt York. On an aside, for those few he is yet to tell, Mike is soon to pack his bags and fishing rod and depart to Australia on exchange flying F-18s. Also making the journey to Austria were Strats’ pants, which by the looks of it had some pretty good chat. Rumour has it that the pants took them both home that night. It has been a strong finish to the year and we look to continue the good run long into the next. Who knows, next year we may finally get to Cyprus! Merry Christmas!