Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tornado squadron welcomed home from Afghanistan

Over 2,000 well-wishers welcomed RAF Tornado crews and engineers home from Afghanistan on Friday when they paraded through the streets of their local town of Swaffham, Norfolk.

The parade, led by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, formed up at the Market Place where personnel from II (Army Cooperation) Squadron received their Operational Service Medals for Afghanistan from Richard Jewson, the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk.

Members of II (Army Cooperation) Squadron on parade in the town of Swaffham, Norfolk
Photo: Senior Aircraftman Si Armstrong, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010

The squadron returned from operations in Afghanistan two weeks previously when they flew into RAF Marham to an emotional welcome by family and friends.

They have had an extremely busy deployment in support of UK and coalition troops on the ground.

During that period over 500 sorties were flown, amounting to nearly 1,700 flying hours, all in direct support of ground-based forces.

Of those 500 sorties, approximately 100 were ground close air support requests where the Tornado GR4s were scrambled within 30 minutes of the request coming in for assistance.

The Tornado detachment’s contribution to Op HERRICK is very well understood and appreciated by those on the ground, who ultimately benefit from the presence in the air. The Tornados provide both close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Officer Commanding II (Army Cooperation) Squadron, Wing Commander John Turner, said: “”My team have done a superb job during their very busy deployment in Afghanistan, and they should be justifiably proud of their achievements.”

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