The personnel flew directly into the Norfolk base where they were greeted by RAF Marham’s Station Commander, Group Captain David Cooper, before being transported across to where their families eagerly awaited their arrival.
The personnel are now looking forward to spending some time with their families after what has been an extremely eventful year for II(AC) Squadron or ‘Shiny Two’, as it is known.
The squadron has taken part in a major exercise in North America, and participated in a number of ceremonies to mark the squadron’s centenary, before turning their attention to the Operation HERRICK work-up and their subsequent deployment to Afghanistan.
Now, after four-and-a-half months, II (AC) Squadron’s deployment on Operation HERRICK has come to a close and it was fitting that the squadron, whose initial role was supporting ground troops back in 1912, has continued to do precisely that, 100 years after its formation.
On Saturday 17 November II(AC) Squadron formally handed over to its sister squadron IX (Bomber) at RAF Marham. This is familiar territory for both squadrons as it was only last year that the squadrons handed over to one another on Operation ELLAMY over Libya.
IX (Bomber) Squadron, under the leadership of Wing Commander Andy Turk, will be in residence at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan over Christmas and the New Year before handing over to the third RAF Marham-based squadron, 31 Squadron, next year.
Deploying at the height of summer, II (AC) Squadron can reflect and take pride in a job extremely well done. It has been a highly successful four-and-a-half month detachment, with the squadron flying over 2,000 hours in support of UK and coalition forces.
The engineering challenge has also been significant, particularly with the high temperatures. However, the pragmatism, enthusiasm and dedication of the engineers ensured continued aircraft availability for daily and ground close air support taskings.
Officer Commanding II (AC) Squadron, Wing Commander Nick Tucker-Lowe, said:
This has been a tremendously successful deployment for ‘Shiny Two’. With an operational pedigree that is ‘second-to-none’ the squadron always strives for operational excellence and, due to the consistent diligence and determination of all of the squadron’s personnel, that is exactly what we have achieved.