After much needed post operational deployment leave, it is down to earth with a bump and the inevitable change in personnel at No 7 FP Wg HQ. After a busy and eventful tour to Kandahar (KAF), it is with much sadness that we say goodbye to a number of the team who go on to bigger and better things.

First to escape is Flt Lt Paul (Rats) Ratnage, the 7 FP Wg Air Liaison Officer.Having provided air control and managed airspace for numerous incidents in and around KAF during our deployment, Rats has moved down the road to assume his new position as OC Regt Flt at RAF Waddington where he will be kept busy providing force protection training in support of operations. Flt Lt Avril Porter, 7 FP Wg’s resident Security Officer, fulfilled the role of OC KAF Security Squadron during Op HERRICK 13, responsible for maintaining the internal security and policing at KAF. Co-ordination and management of several hundred Bulgarian, Slovak and US personnel, as well as a 20-strong dog unit kept her immensely busy, so after 2 tours at RAF Coningsby as both OC RAFP and as part of 7 FP Wg, she departs to take her force protection experience into her new role as OC Force Protection Threats Team at the Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington. Flt Lt Charlie Lynn is one of 7 FP Wg’s founder members and ran the Operations Room in KAF while fulfilling the role of OC Joint Defence Operations Centre. Responsible for the co-ordination and management of the multinational Signallers, Watchkeepers and Battle Captains planning and responding to a constant stream of on and off base incidents and operations, Flt Lt Lynn leaves RAF Coningsby after 5 years, (another RAF Coningsby “Double Tourer” – OC Regt Flt and 7 FP Wg Ops Officer) to be part of the instructional staff at RAF Cranwell. Flt Lt Chris Morrill and SAC Mike Stallard, who formed the core of the Intelligence Cell responsible for analysing local and regional threats and liaising with numerous personnel around the base, are both departing the Wg to return to the roles back in their branch.

Flt Lt Morrill is posted to the JFACC at RAF High Wycombe and SAC Stallard is commencing Phase 3 training at Chicksands.Another pair of 7 FP Wg founder members, Sgt Jason Griffiths and Cpl Phil Kenny, deployed as the Wg Influence Team integral in shaping and reconstructing over 60 villages within the KAF Ground Defence Area depart the Wg for pastures new, with Sgt Griffiths becoming a senior instructor at the Stn Regt Flt, JSSU Digby and Cpl Kenny heading to DCAE Cosford, as a JNCO Instructor on the Stn Regt Flt.We wish them all well and thank them for their efforts while at Coningsby and in Kandahar.

Back on the HQ, remaining members of the Wg continue with preparations for a period of standby prior to starting Pre-Deployment Training again in the New Year. With ranges, exercises and conversion to the new radio systems continuing over the coming weeks, it is shaping up for yet another busy 12 months for the HQ. With Wg Gunners preparing for career courses it is left to the Wg Chief of Staff, Sqn Ldr David Capel and the Wg Clerk, Cpl Louise Bolt to keep the Boss supplied with chocolate!