UK: 820 Naval Air Sqn wins four trophies

UK: 820 Naval Air Sqn wins four trophies

20-Sep-2011 Source: Royal Navy

The Culdrose-based squadron can rightly call itself ‘the best of the best’ after bagging all four major naval aviation trophies for its global deeds over the past 12 months.

820 – motto tutamen et ultor, safeguard and avenger – has been at the forefront of the fight against the scourge of piracy, smuggling, drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

The Merlins scored several successes, in particular operating from RFA Fort Victoria as part of a dedicated anti-piracy operation last autumn, Operation Capri.

The squadron takes it in turns with its sister unit 814 to support the international security mission over waters east of Suez (the Flying Tigers have recently replaced 820 in the region).

It is a demanding mission – punishing temperatures, vast expanses of ocean, long hours in the air straining men and machines, long hours in the hangars as the maintainers toil to keep the Merlins serviceable.

And the men and women of 820 rose to every challenge, as acknowledged by this quartet of awards, presented by Vice Admiral George Zambellas, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, at the squadron’s home.

He handed over:

  • the Bambara Flight Safety Trophy for the Fleet Air Arm unit with the best flight safety record;
  • the Breitling Trophy for the best overall assessment during a Naval Flying Standards inspection, recognising professionalism and excellence (820 won it the last time the squadron was inspected in 2008);
  • the Rolls Royce Engineering Efficiency Trophy for the most efficient and capable engineering section;
  • and the Australia Shield – named because it was donated by the people of that land –– as the most operationally capable front-line Naval Air Squadron.

In the citation for the four trophies, the head of the Fleet Air Arm Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham said 820’s achievements had been “unique”, its personnel had achieved “tangible results on a daily basis.  820 Squadron have certainly set an extremely high bench mark for everyone to aspire to.  The level of professionalism, dedication and commitment demonstrated by all, as well as the esprit de corps is an example to all and in the finest traditions of the Fleet Air Arm.”

820’s Commanding Officer Cdr Jason Phillips, who received the Australia Shield on behalf of his squadron, said:  “Receiving any one of these awards is a great honour, and as far as I can establish only one other Squadron has been awarded more than one trophy in a year, so to receive all four awards in the same year is a huge tribute to the hard work and professionalism of every member of 820 Squadron over the past year.  It is a unique achievement and one of which they and their families should all be extremely proud.”

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