Thursday, December 10, 2009
We fight for their freedom and so that we may continue to enjoy ours
Personnel from RAF Benson have been deployed on operations for the last decade. This year, following the deployment of Merlin helicopters to Afghanistan, over 130 RAF Benson personnel will be deployed worldwide over Christmas; the majority of whom will be on Operation Herrick.
Our personnel will be deployed this Christmas supporting UK ground troops who are essential to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists who would threaten the UK. It is helicopters from the UK and Coalition Forces that assist NATO Land Forces in this mission, be it transporting troops to forward operating bases, re-supplying troops away from main operating bases, or airlifting casualties to medical facilities in the quickest time possible.
Service personnel give their utmost when performing the tasks they have been asked to undertake by the Queen and Country they signed up to serve. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and their families and loved ones are always in our thoughts and prayers; they are true heroes and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.
We should not forget that today there are thousands of men and women in Afghanistan from the British Armed Forces and they deserve our support. The men and women from the Merlin Force and other Station personnel will be on duty this Christmas ready to assist the ground forces at a moment’s notice, as they always are.
Armed Forces personnel are in this for the long haul because they believe in what they are doing; they believe they can help to bring stability to the people of Afghanistan. Their resolve is strengthened even further by the support they receive from the people at home.
Being deployed on operations to places like Afghanistan is difficult as Personnel are away from family and friends, with limited contact, for prolonged periods in a dangerous environment. Being deployed at this time of year is especially hard as Christmas is often viewed as a time to be with your family and loved ones.
RAF Benson’s top priority is to look after the families of our deployed personnel over this period. We currently have a number of ways we offer support to the families including a Christmas party for the children of deployed personnel and other welfare support.
We would urge everyone to spare a thought for our personnel and those of the other services who will be away from home this Christmas, and for all the Armed Forces personnel who will be fighting for stability in support of the Afghan army in Afghanistan. We fight for their freedom and so that we may continue to enjoy ours. We do so without requesting any thanks but ask for your continued support and understanding. The support we receive from the people at home really does make a difference.
Wing Commander Rob Norris, Chief of Staff at Royal Air Force Benson