I am delighted to pen this foreword in the run up to Christmas and a few weeks into command. By the time you read this, I should also have the upper hand against a mountain of packing boxes. I am exceptionally fortunate to have the privilege of being Commanding Officer of such an outstanding station as Coningsby, and Lisa, James, Henry and I are delighted to be back amongst old and new friends. Every day brings constant reminders that the success and achievements that the Station and its individual elements enjoy are rooted in the people who serve here, and the families and loved ones who support them: I intend to make sure that we never take that support, and the many sacrifices that it entails, for granted. The current deployment of 7 FP Wing to Afghanistan, and the operational duty of many Coningsby servicemen and women from the Falklands to the Middle East, exemplifies the selflessness and commitment demanded by military service. Christmas puts this into greater relief, and our thoughts are with all ‘on ops’ and their families.

As we look to 2013, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on another exceptionally busy year. The support to the Olympics, both at sporting venues and – in the eyes of the media – most obviously at RAF Northolt imposed a significant burden on all yet was accomplished alongside the maintenance of QRA, deployments various, and the gearing up of activity across the Station to underpin Typhoon Force growth. As the year ends, we have also welcomed the staff from the 1 Group Typhoon Force HQ. Allied to the myriad events supported by BBMF and the unstinting individual and collective charitable activities, the commitment and spirit of everyone at Coningsby is remarked upon by all who visit.

In the New Year, an exciting exercise programme includes the first RAF Typhoon participation on Exercise Red Flag and deployments to the Middle East, with more to come. Equally, I am absolutely seized by the need to make sure that what we do is at a sustainable tempo, provides time for personal and professional development..and has time for some fun too. I look forward to working with and for everyone at Coningsby in achieving this.

From all of the Stringer family, our best wishes to everyone for a very happy Christmas and New Year. Enjoy the holiday.

Group Captain Johnny Stringer