19 Royal Air Force personnel have been honoured in the Armed Forces Operational Awards and Joint Commanderâ€™s Commendations for their bravery and service in Afghanistan and during UK Operations and Search and Rescue missions.
Three Chinook pilots based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire were awarded the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) one of which was 28 year old Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune, born inKingston upon Thames in Surrey, currently serving on 27 Squadron who was given the honour for his actions whilst on operations in Afghanistan during January 2010.
As Commander of the Immediate Response Team (IRT) Chinook helicopter, Flight Lieutenant Fortune was scrambled to conduct an emergency medical evacuation of six casualties with gunshot wounds. Whilst manoeuvring into the emergency landing site the aircraft came under enemy fire. Ian continued to hold his position to allow the casualties on board despite the aircraft being hit several times. One of the rounds affected the flight stabilisation system, making the aircraft much harder to control and even when a round came through the cockpit and hit the front of Ianâ€™s helmet shattering his visor and causing deep lacerations to his face he retained control and continued to take evasive action managing to keep the aircraft stable enough to enable the medical team to work on the casualties. All of the casualties survived and the assessment of the doctors was that one of them would have died had he not been evacuated in such a timely fashion.
On hearing the news of his award Flight Lieutenant Fortune said: â€œI feel truly honoured to have been awarded a DFC and am filled with a sense of immense pride. I am humbled in the thought that I join a remarkable band of men and women in the annals of history who, through exceptional feats in the air, have inspired me since I was a boy. However, similar deeds occur unnoticed on an almost daily basis in Afghanistan and it is my privilege to serve and operate with fellow military aircrew and ground troops to whom this award is also a tribute.â€
28 year old, Chinook pilot Flight Lieutenant Timothy Pollard also from Kingston upon Thames in Surrey based at 18 Squadron, RAF Odiham also received a DFC for his actions in Afghanistan along with Chinook pilot Flight Lieutenant Andrew Nethaway.
Senior Aircraftman Jonathon Freeman based at MOD St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan received a Mention in Dispatches (MiD). Flight Lieutenant Alexander Townsend from 27 Sqn, RAF Odiham and Corporal Carl Booth who was stationed at RAF Brize Norton, but who has now left the service were both given Queenâ€™s Commendations for Bravery in the Air (QCBA) and Air Commodore Stuart Atha from MOD Main Building, Squadron Leader Daniel Endruweit and Group Captain Alan Gillespie from RAF High Wycombe, Bucks HP 14 4UE were awarded Queenâ€™s Commendations for valuable Service (QCVS).