AIRMEN from a Northumberland air base who kept the nation’s skies safe during the Olympics have been recognised for their efforts.
Four servicemen from RAF Boulmer, near Alnwick, have been awarded the Joint Commander’s Commendation for the roles they played in the surveillance of British skies for terrorist threats during the summer games. A fifth has received the Air Component Commander’s Commendation.
Recipients of the joint commander’s commendation for outstanding contribution to the Olympics were Flight Lieutenant Andy Cooper, Flight Lieutenant Adam Lynn, Warrant Officer Craig Smith and Flight Sergeant Dave Kinnaird.
The air component commander’s commendation went to Squadron Leader Peter Robinson, Officer Commanding Training Squadron and Master Controller within the Control and Reporting Centre at Boulmer, from where the surveillance was run.
Flit Lt Cooper, 32, was posted to Air Surveillance and Control Systems Force Command Headquarters (ASACS) as a weapons liaison officer working with civilian and military air traffic controllers.
The ASACS conducted continuous radar surveillance of UK airspace, and worked closely with RAF Typhoons on Quick Reaction Alert, ready to intercept hostile or suspicious aircraft.
Flt Lt Lynn, 28, was the deputy control training officer working with 33 Squadron to help design and implement the tactics, techniques and procedures for the use of helicopters policing the restricted and prohibited London airspace.
He spent time at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire providing air defence guidance for the crews during their simulator sessions and also control for the practical element of training.
Flt Lt Lynn said: “The commendation is a huge honour, however without the professional and committed attitude of those I worked along side it would not have been possible.”
Warrant Officer Smith, 49, put together the team that processed more than 18,000 flight plans during the games and provided specialist surveillance advice to air traffic controllers watching London’s airspace.
Flt Sgt Kinnaird, 44, was detachment commander for an air defence radar which deployed to Shoeburyness near Southend on Sea. His team’s job was to detect low and slow flying aircraft over the Thames Estuary.
Flt Sgt Kinnaird had been the first tactical radar operator to operate the system on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said: “The commendation is an unexpected honour and I feel privileged to have been part of the collaborative team which supported the Olympic Games.”
The four joint commander’s commendations for Boulmer personnel was the most given to any station.
ASACS Force Commander and Station Commander at Boulmer Group Captain Paul Atkinson said: “I am delighted to see that RAF Boulmer personnel have been recognised by the award of the Joint Commander’s Commendation.
“Their efforts, and those of the whole station, made a significant contribution to the success of the air security operation in ensuring a safe and secure London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.”
Sqn Ldr Robinson, 44, was presented with his award by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, at a ceremony at RAF High Wycombe.
He said: “I feel surprised and honoured to be awarded an Air Component Commander’s Commendation as I was just doing my job.”