Queen’s Birthday Honours List 13

OBE
Wg Cdr Robinson, RAF Odiham (now MoD)

MBE
Maj Gough, 1 Regt AAC
Sqn Ldr Sawbridge, RAF Benson
CSgt Murphy, 16 Bde
Maj Gilks, 5 Regt AAC (now DCRS)
Maj Sams, RAF Odiham (now MoD)
Maj Jones, 16 Bde – 7 Air Assault Bn REME (now HQ LONDIST)

CGS Commendation
Maj Dufton, AA Cen
Maj Butterworth, HQ JHC
Maj Johnson, 21 Sig Regt
Pte Meenagh, 2 PARA
CLF Commendation
Capt Hitch, AH OCU
WO2 Blundell, 4 Regt AAC

CAS Commendation
Sqn Ldr Wadlow, RAF Odiham
Cpl Egan, RAF Odiham

DCom Ops Commendation
Sqn Ldr Dewar, RAF Benson (now Air Cmd)
ATC Team, RAF Benson

AOC 1 Gp Commendation
MACR Brompton, RAF Benson

MSM
WO1 Wight, HQ AAC
WO2 Child, 16 Bde
WO2 Paterson, 671 Sqn AAC
WO2 Rorrison, RAF Odiham

Comd JHC Commendation
WO Jackson, JHC HQ
WO1 Beckett, 16 Med Regt
WO2 Sumpter, 2 PARA
LCpl Barnes, 4 Regt AAC
Mrs Tregoning, HQ 16 Bde
Sqn Ldr Rowley, RAF Benson
Chf Tech Drinkel, RAF Benson
Chf Tech Wilding, RAF Benson
Flt Sgt Day, RAF Benson
Flt Sgt Evans, RAF Benson
Flt Sgt Fellows, RAF Benson (now RAF Halton)
SAC Woodfield, RAF Benson
Chf Tech Pearce, RAF Odiham
Cpl Laver, RAF Odiham
Mrs Herring, RAF Odiham
SSgt Davis, 7 (Trg) Regt AAC
Lt(RN) Peschardt, 845 NAS
Lt Beard, 5 Regt AAC
WO1 Sweeney, 29 Flt AAC
WO2 Cooke, Wildcat Fielding Team (Army)
SSgt Cheston, Wildcat Fielding Team (Army)
Capt Kelly, 214 Sig Sqn
WO2 Lancaster, 214 Sig Sqn
Sig Smith, 214 Sig Sqn
Cpl Turner, TSW
WO2 Waring, 2 R IRISH

Sqn Ldr Toby Sawbridge was awarded an MBE for his services both to the Merlin Force and the wider community. A Merlin pilot, he is currently 2IC of 28 (Army Co-operation) Sqn at RAF Benson, was honoured for outstanding contribution to the RAF and Defence before, during and after two demanding operational deployments to Afghanistan. In addition, the award recognises Toby’s sacrifice of much of his own time, despite personal tragedy, to co-ordinate the Station’s charitable efforts.

Prior to his first deployment to Afghanistan, Toby quickly identified that the Merlin helicopter’s advanced communications and navigational capabilities gave it the potential to lead counter-insurgency deliberate operations, during which he repeatedly demonstrated courage and tenacity of the highest order.

Further, to address the capability gap created by the withdrawal of the Sea King helicopters from Afghanistan, Toby inspired his crews to further develop their night capability, markedly reducing their exposure to enemy threat. In addition, his leadership and inter-personal skills ensured exemplary fusion between the engineering personnel and aircrew, resulting in an extremely cohesive and motivated unit. Together, his efforts generated a considerably enhanced capability.

His second deployment occurred over the Christmas period, where there was a need for inspirational leadership in maintaining the morale of his personnel. Married with two children himself, Toby personally arranged for the procurement of several thousand pounds worth of cricket equipment prior to his deployment, which resulted in the establishment of a full cricket pitch and training nets at Camp Bastion and the appreciation of his personnel who were separated from their families during the festive period.

Back at home base, despite his father tragically being killed in a road accident, Toby committed himself to taking on one of the most demanding voluntary duties on the Station: OIC Station Charities Committee. Responsible for overseeing all fundraising duties and providing advice and assistance to all personnel who wish to undertake fundraising activities, Toby also partakes in numerous fundraising activities himself. One of the most notable in recent years was swimming a marathon with colleagues from the Merlin Force along the River Thames in aid of the Royal British Legion! In the first year alone the Committee coordinated charitable efforts that raised an unprecedented £83,000 for Service and local charities, with the total now standing at well over £200,000 since the Committee’s inception.

C/Sgt Rustim Murphy, of 2 PARA, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of his work with 2 PARA’s Mortar Platoon in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010-11 and training the Sierra Leone Armed Forces in 2011.

CSgt Murphy, said: “It was the proudest moment of my life to hear I had been awarded an MBE, but I was also stunned and a bit embarrassed. I don’t see that I have done anything out of the ordinary; I’ve just done my job to the best of my ability. The mortar intrigues me as you can never learn everything about it. When I’m firing or controlling a mortar it’s about looking after the guys on the ground and as an infantryman there’s no other weapon you want to back you up.”

CSgt Murphy described his two tours of Afghanistan as “very different but equally as challenging and rewarding“. In 2008 he was working as a Mortar Fire Controller (MFC) with 2 PARA’s C Coy, patrolling with infantry to co-ordinate fire support from mortars back in the base. He said: “Every patrol that went out had to have an MFC, but there were only two of us in the Company. We would be out on an eight hour patrol, come back in to resupply and then go out on another patrol. Every time we went out we were involved in fire fights and the guys would be looking to the MFC to call in covering fire. On the next tour I was at the next level up, working in the battlegroup headquarters to command the Mortar Platoon and co-ordinate all the indirect fire support to troops on the ground. I was doing a captain’s job and had to learn a lot very quickly.”

On his return from Afghanistan in 2011, CSgt Murphy was selected to lead a team to train Sierra Leonean soldiers to use mortars before they deployed on an African Union peacekeeping mission to Somalia.

The father-of-one said: “The soldiers were very inexperienced and didn’t know anything about proper targeting and collateral damage. The equipment they were using was cobbled together from three different mortar systems, so we spent the first few days working out to use it safely ourselves. We pulled together a good training package, the Sierra Leonean troops engaged well and they had a successful mission.”

In the MBE citation, Lt Col Dawson OBE MC, 2 PARA’s CO, said: “CSgt Murphy has consistently performed far above the level one would reasonably expect and is a perfect example of the strong soldier that forms the indispensable backbone of the British Army. He has raised standards across the Army’s indirect fire community, inspired a generation of young soldiers through his example and enhanced the British Army’s good name and reputation abroad.”

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