Announcement

Commander Bastion takes charge of UK's main Helmand base and its airfield

Group Captain van den Berg, formerly Commanding Officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, took over the role of Commander Bastion on Wednesday …

Group Captain van den Berg, formerly Commanding Officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, took over the role of Commander Bastion on Wednesday 6 October 2010.

With the Garrison Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 1 Cox, working as his right-hand man, Group Captain van den Berg is responsible for the care and protection of up to 22,000 UK, US, Estonian, Danish and Afghan Service personnel and contractors.

The reorganisation is a stepping stone towards Camp Bastion becoming the UK strategic air transport hub in Afghanistan early next year.

Commander Bastion oversees the efficient day-to-day running of Camp Bastion. His prime concern is the safety and security of the base and all its personnel. He has taken on the responsibility to create, along with the US Marine Corps (USMC), a combined security force that protects Bastion, Camp Leatherneck and the Afghan National Army camp at Shorabak.

The provision of accommodation, catering and administrative support is another key part of the role and Commander Bastion is responsible for supporting up to 61 individual Bastion-based units, which include medical, logistics and training and many who deploy forward in support of troops in Task Force Helmand.

To assist him, he has under his command No 4 RAF Force Protection Wing and 1 Squadron RAF Regiment who conduct joint patrols with the USMC, and controls the Bastion Guard Force.

The new Garrison Sergeant Major, WO1 Cox, is responsible for discipline and standards at Bastion. His role is varied and ranges from co-ordinating the vigil services to escorting celebrity visitors such as David Beckham.

Group Captain van den Berg said:

The challenges of this new and expanded role are familiar ones as it mirrors the role and many of the functions of an RAF station commander.

Every day I am conscious of my responsibilities for the security of Bastion and the array of dedicated personnel that operate here, whilst I also recognise the invaluable support all units based at Bastion make to the ISAF mission, especially to our soldiers, sailors and airmen out in the forward operating bases and patrol bases in central Helmand.

Without Bastion and its operations-focused team, Task Force Helmand would be unable to conduct their highly successful mission supporting the Afghan people. Bastion’s contribution to the overall success of the ISAF mission is without measure.

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