Defence Secretary Unveils Odiham’s Gate Guardian

A new Chinook gate guardian has been unveiled at RAF Odiham, by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

The gate guardian was a generous gift from Boeing Rotorcraft UK, to mark the role played by RAF Chinooks during 30 years of continuous deployment on operations.

Personnel who have served with the Chinook Force in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan were invited to Odiham for the ceremonial unveiling along with representatives from Boeing.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “RAF Chinooks have made a vital contribution to the defence of the UK for decades and continue to do so in Afghanistan. They will also play a role over the coming months, supporting the security operation in place during the London Olympic Games. With the Mk4s and twelve new Mk6 Chinooks, the force will be one of the vital components of Future Force 2020. I would like to pay tribute to the supreme dedication and loyalty of all personnel, past and present who support Chinook Force at home and on operations.”

During his visit, Mr Hammond was given a tour of the new Mk4 Chinook before being flown in one of the aircraft by 7 Sqn.

When speaking about the Chinook Force Gp Capt Dom Toriati, Stn Cdr RAF Odiham said “There is no force that has been deployed in the same way as this helicopter has. It really is a story of where the UK’s military has been over the last 30 years.” Cpl Freya Lees, based at RAF Odiham said: ”I felt very privileged being a part of the ceremony and to be a part of this historical day.”

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