It was with a tremendous sense of pride that Royal Marines and Royal Naval personnel of the Commando Helicopter Force were presented with the Fleet Air Arm’s Bambara Flight Safety Trophy for 2009 from Rear Admiral T Cunningham Chief of Staff Aviation. This coveted prize is awarded annually to the Fleet Air Arm unit that is assessed as having the best flight safety record.
After the award ceremony, Admiral Cunningham praised the CHF and its Squadrons for their outstanding achievements on global exercises and in particular the 2 years they have been deployed in Afghanistan. He further praised both aviators and support personnel who have worked exceptionally hard in supporting UK and international forces in Afghanistan despite the obvious dangers from the Taliban but also the enormous environmental challenges of flying and maintaining the aircraft in extreme heat and dust.
In true naval tradition, the youngest member of 845 Naval Air Squadron, Air Engineering Technician Russell Elliot accepted the trophy on behalf of the CHF. Whilst he is the youngest member of the Squadron he has certainly packed a lot of action in a short naval career. Russell has previously deployed on Operations in Iraq and recently returned to the UK from Afghanistan after a 3 month tour, he is about to deploy to the east coast of America in June and will return to Afghanistan in November returning to the UK in February 2011.
On receiving the Trophy Russell said, “I’ve never been asked to do anything like this before but I am extremely proud to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the Commando Helicopter Force. The force is like a family and everyone takes Flight Safety extremely seriously as any bad practice can lead to loss of life for those who fly in the our aircraft or for the soldiers on the front line keenly awaiting our support”.
[Photo - Rear Admiral T Cunningham Chief of Staff Aviation presents the Bambara Trophy to Air Engineering Technician ## Russell Elliot]
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