|by Bill Bawden, PRO|
26 March 2009
The recent talk to the members of the AirCrew Association at Fairoaks Airport by the Officer Commanding RAF Odiham led to an invitation to make a return visit to the Chinook helicopter base.
This week a coach took 24 ACA members to Odiham in Hampshire where they were welcomed by the Station Commander, Group Captain Richard Mason OBE, and given a conducted tour of No 27 Squadron by Flight Lieutenant Phil Nuttall. Flt Lt Nuttall and his fellow pilots and squadron crew members showed film and gave accounts of their recent operations in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, which included night sorties in co-operation with American forces and casualty evacuation of British soldiers whilst under fire from the Taliban.
In reply Woking Branch committee member, Eric Smith GM, thanked the RAF for its hospitality and showed excerpts from the CD on which ACA members, some sadly no longer with us, had recorded their recollections of experiences from an earlier era. This showed that although the aircraft and scale of operations had changed over the years, the spirit of those who serve and have served in the air has remained unaltered.
The highlight of the day for many came after lunch in the Officers' Mess when the visitors were conveyed back to their own "base" at Fairoaks aboard a Chinook helicopter, a flight during which any illusions that travel in service aircraft might have become more comfortable or less noisy were quickly dispelled. The arrival of this unusual aircraft caused quite a stir among the airport staff and brought an end to a memorable day for all those who had taken part.
|ACA party equipped for their flight home||Safely strapped in|
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