At the start of this year, my ‘Station Commander’s Intent’ for 2013 highlighted my vision and objectives for the coming year, noting amongst other things that we all needed something left in the tank for when we needed to surge.

I’m writing this foreword after one of the busier weeks that RAF Coningsby has had since preparing for Operation ELLAMY in early 2011. Once again, the need to generate Typhoons to deploy at very short notice has seen everyone on the Station contributing to the deployment of XI Squadron and supporting personnel to Cyprus. It has been both energising and humbling to see the selfless and professional contribution of all, enabling us to have aircraft, pilots and engineers in place and ready to go in less than 48 hours of initial notice to move.  I must also highlight the key role of the Typhoon Force HQ, who have been at the heart of the staff effort and co-ordination for the deployment. My thanks and gratitude go out to each and everyone of you, and to our families that once again support us in what we do.

The ‘what next?’ is less certain, but that should not be a surprise. Whatever it holds, the Coningsby Wing is in good shape to maintain our deployed posture and sustain it from our home base. We have also welcomed our Royal Saudi Air Force colleagues to Coningsby for Exercise Saudi British Green Flag, and I am sure that the quality of exercise flying will be matched by the mutual friendship between our two air forces. On a personal note, I have been delighted to renew acquaintances with some of the first RSAF Typhoon pilots who were trained by 29 Squadron from 2008. And we are also hosting our own GR4 Force exercise participants from RAF Marham as well.

Excellence in our core combat roles is never a given, and nor is the competence, skill and commitment of all who serve at Coningsby. In this regard, I have been heartened by the engagement across the Station with the recent New Employment Model briefings. This is more than enlightened self-interest, but speaks to ensuring that we can continue to provide the best possible ‘offer’ of service: as we reflect on a few very demanding days within a busy year, I promise that this remains at the forefront of my thinking.

Group Captain Johnny Stringer