The VIEW FROM THE WATERFRONT
Albert Einstein once said that the only reason time exists is so that every thing doesn’t happen all at once. At Coningsby, it sometimes just feels like everything does, especially with the amount the Wing has achieved over the last couple of months.
A successful visit from the ‘trappers’ under the belt, the attention of the wing turned squarely on to the preparation to host our Saudi friends who were due to arrive at the end of August for an intensive 2 week exercise. Whilst most of the attention was focused on the Tornados and Typhoons they were bringing, Ops Wing were quietly chipping away at the facilitation of a stream of up to four Saudi C130s arriving and departing every day in the run up all requiring customs and immigration, flight planning and navigation services, loading and unloading. Even though they fall under the auspices of Eng & Logs Wg, respect must be paid to the Movements Flight. They were easy winners of the Most Tired Looking Section at Coningsby award for much of September yet remained heroic throughout.
Over the same period the wing has had individuals deployed all over the place including, Bastion ATC, FOB JUNO, the Falklands, Exercise PASHTUN JAGUAR, Cyprus, the Leuchars Air Show, Exercise CAPABLE EAGLE, Exercise CHAMELEON, Exercise JOINT WARRIOR and Exercise LIGHTNING FORCE which just goes to illustrate the variety of work the wing is undertaking.
In amongst all this ‘routine’ business was the excitement of deploying the Typhoon force to Akrotiri in response to some Syrian aggression at the end of August just as Exercise SAUDI BRITISH GREEN FLAG was getting underway. Whilst the Wing HQ was heavily involved in the planning of the operation, a number of wing personnel deployed in support, most notably one of ATC’s civilian assistants, Mr Colin Wylie, who detached to Akrotiri last-minute to train runway caravan controllers for the arrival of the Typhoon detachment. The devil is always in the detail.
The Fire Section finally received a long overdue uplift in manning, seeing 5 new LAC’s and 2 CPL’s arrive on section to replace some of the manpower lost over the summer. They arrived not a moment too soon as the section upped its capability from Crash Cat 3A using 6 crew members to Crash Cat 4A using 10 crew members making up 2 crews doing 24 hr shifts each for the month of September to enable Exercise GREEN FLAG. In addition, section personnel were deployed in 3 crews of 4-5 fire-fighters to Moreton-in-the-Marsh for Incident Response Unit training in the build up to Op Fodient, the military provision of civil fire and rescue services during the National Fire Service strike anticipated in September. The training covered civil specialisations such as Mass Decontamination and Hazardous Material training. After they had received the training, Coningsby personnel were deployed RAF Leeming, Cosford and Dale Barracks on standby for the period of Industrial Action.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight rounded off another successful season with the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association day on the 29th of September. Attended by over 3000 people, the event saw all the flight’s aircraft take to the sky in an impressive celebration of history that we are extremely privileged to have on our doorstep.
The wing continues to lead the way with sporting achievements including representative target rifle shooting, swimming, boxing, football, mountain biking, running plus a host of station team players especially in football which appears to be dominated by Ops Wing. If only crashing MOSS was a competitive sport; I’m sure we would be champions at that too.