Head of the Fleet Air Arm Presents Aviators and Support Personnel with… Afghanistan Operational Service Medals


RN and Royal Marine Sea King aviators and support personnel from 846 NAS recently received their Afghanistan OSMs after completing a successful deployment in support of the Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan).

Watched by colleagues, family and friends at their base, 14 personnel received their Op HERRICK medals from the head of the Fleet Air Arm, RAdml Russ Harding OBE.

Elements of 846 NAS and supporting elements have been operating at Camp Bastion and Kandahar in Afghanistan since 2007. The flying tasks for the aviators are diverse and extremely challenging, calling for tactical low-level flight by day and night in all weather 24/7. As part of the CHF personnel are trained to operate from the field using FOBs in Helmand province, one of the most hazardous areas in the fight against the Taliban.

After receiving his medal, CPO Air Engineering Technician Russell Thompson said, “It was a real honour and privilege to receive the medal from Admiral Harding especially in front of my wife, children and extended family.”

Like many of his fellow engineers Russell is no stranger to Operations on the front line having previously served in Bosnia and Iraq and has utilised this experience in the extremely challenging environment of Afghanistan. During the employment he was responsible for ensuring his aircraft were immediately available to meet operational commitments.

Cdr Rich Harrison OBE, CO 846 NAS added: “CPO Thompson and the other medal recipients from 846 Squadron richly deserve recognition for their recent sterling work supporting stabilisation operations in Afghanistan. The presence of the Head of the Fleet Air Arm, Admiral Harding, at the medals ceremony was a highlight for us all, and it was additionally special that family and friends were able to come to the ceremony to witness their loved ones being awarded their medals, and to share some well-deserved champagne to celebrate!”

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