THE Station was honoured to host a number of local dignitaries on this bright but chilly December day.
HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk; Lady Clare Countess of Euston, Air Vice-Marshal The Honourable David Murray, Vice Chair of West Suffolk Council; Councillor Mike Chester and Mayor of Thetford; Councillor Mike Brindle were invited to the Station to observe current training and development output from RAF Honington.
The highlight of the day was in no doubt the Trainee Gunner Graduation, which they attended and observed as VIP guests. The Graduations are a particularly special day for the Station as we welcome families and friends to share the celebration of the newly graduated RAF Regiment Gunners following 20 weeks of successful but intensive training. Following a formal parade with live music, this time provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force, the graduates are reunited with their loved ones.
Cllr Mike Chester, Vice Chair of West Suffolk Council said:
We have a long and proud association with the armed forces who are very much part of our community here in West Suffolk. Many local families have loved ones who have either served or are currently serving and it was a real honour for me to attend this ceremony to see the courageous young trainees graduate as RAF Regiment Gunners.
The home of RAF Force Protection, RAF Honington provides critical capability to Defence worldwide. The station was lucky enough to showcase some of this capability to the VIP guests today and give them an insight into how the Royal Air Force is trialling new equipment that will revolutionise the delivery of future Air Force Protection, known as Force Protection Experimentation, or FPX.
As we continue to experiment with new technology and equipment, Virtual Reality is just one capability that we are currently trialling to see how it may benefit current training methods both within our RAF Regiment Training Wing and Force Protection Centre. The guests even got to trial it for themselves.
Our guests were able to view the Synthetic-Complex Air Ground Environment used for training purposes, learn about Defensive Tactics experimentation and see further evidence of FPX with the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems that we also train with here.
Station Commander Group Captain Dutch Holland said:
Today the graduating RAF Regiment Gunners of El Alamein Flt proudly wear their coveted Regimental ‘Mudguard’ for the first time. This is a day that they will remember for their entire lives and I’m delighted to witness them march off the parade square in the presence of their families, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk and dignitaries from our neighbouring towns today. It has been a privilege and an honour to showcase just some of what we do here at RAF Honington, and how grateful we are for the continuous support that we receive from our local communities.