UK Apache crews achieve four GAPAN awards

UK Apache crews achieve four GAPAN awards 27 Oct, 11, Source: GAPAN

Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter crews have been nominated for no less than four of the top awards, reflecting the gruelling nature of their operations in Afghanistan.

The Attack Helicopter Force have been awarded the Johnston Memorial Trophy were commended for the sustained effort by the entire ‘UK Team Apache’ in making the Apache the weapon of first choice in counter insurgency operations. The skill and bravery of the Apache crews has been recognised by the award of two DFCs, three MCs, one MID and two QCVS, plus many other citations at 4 star and 2 star level.

Captain (now Major) Matthew Noble-Clarke AAC, has been awarded the Grand Master’s Commendation on behalf of the HRH Prince Andrew. He was the first Apache pilot in the AHF to have amassed over 1,000 hours of operational flying in that theatre, most recently as the senior Attack Helicopter Commander. Between 2006 and 2010 Captain  Matthew Noble-Clarke completed four tours of duty with the Attack Helicopter Force (AHF) in Afghanistan. He spent 19 months deployed in a period of three and a half years, during which time he operated under fire as a matter of routine.

656 Squadron Group AAC received The Master’s Commendation for their pioneering work in deploying the Apache helicopter at sea in supprt of Marine forces in 2005 and subsequently into Afghanistan in 2006. As part of the Apache Helicopter Force and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, the Squadron has has built an enviable reputation. Since being nominated for the award, 656 Sqn have flown operational sorties over Libya from HMS Ocean as part of NATO’s Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR to protect civilians under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

Finally, Major David Amlôt MBE AAC has been awarded The Sir Barnes Wallis Medal in recognition of an exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation. His work in the development of aviation ‘Judgemental Training’ for the Attack Helicopter Force (AHF), in the application of Rules of Engagement, Targeting Directives and Law of Armed Conflict, has helped numerous crews better understand of the risk to collateral damage. Major Amlôt’s efforts have directly contributed to saving contless lives by balancing the crews’ offensive spirit against courageous restraint.

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators was established in 1929, by a small group of commercial pilots led by Sir Alan Cobham, who were largely responsible for ensuring that their successors enjoyed a professional status and one of the Guild’s objectives has been to foster and improve that standing.  The Guild became a Livery Company of the City of London in 1956: a rarely bestowed mark of distinction. This was a great factor in increasing not only the influence of the Guild, the 81st Livery Company to be formed in 800 years, but of the entire profession of pilot and navigator in the United Kingdom and overseas.  The principal activities of the Guild are centred on developing action and activities to ensure that aircraft are piloted and navigated safely by aviators who are highly competent, self-reliant, dependable and respected. The Guild  supports the education and training of pilots and navigators from the initial training of the young pilot to the specialist training of the highest levels. Through its charitable activities, education and training, technical committee work, aircrew selection, scholarships and sponsorships, advice and recognition of the achievements of fellow aviators world wide, the Guild keeps itself at the forefront of the aviation world.

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