RAF appoints new Search And Rescue Force Commander

RAF appoints new Search And Rescue Force Commander

15-Feb-2013 Source: Royal Air Force

Group Captain Sara Mackmin has taken over as the RAF Search and Rescue Force Commander from Group Captain Frazer Nicholson

The RAF SAR Force is now being commanded by the most senior female aviator within the UK’s Armed Forces. Group Captain Sara Mackmin’s recent appointment as the RAF SAR Force Commander marks the first time that a woman has held such a command appointment at Group Captain rank. Group Captain Mackmin has set a steady trail of notable ‘firsts’ in her career so far. After her posting to the Puma on completion of flying training in 1994, she deployed on operations in the Balkans in 1995 and Northern Ireland in 1997; she went on to become the first female Qualified Helicopter Instructor in 1998 and was the first female to command operational flying units at both squadron leader and wing commander ranks in 2000 and 2008 respectively.

In addition to being a highly experienced, front-line Support Helicopter pilot, Group Captain Mackmin has also completed many complex and varied search and rescue missions across the United Kingdom and its surrounding sea areas, flying the AgustaWestland Sea King – the RAF’s primary search and rescue helicopter – while in command of No 202 squadron.

Her numerous flying appointments have been interspersed with three staff tours at the Ministry of Defence in London and completing Advanced Staff Training at the Joint Services Command and Staff College. Her last appointment prior to her most recent promotion was that of Personal Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.

On taking command of the SAR Force, Group Captain Mackmin described her feelings by saying: (start quote) “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to command a Force that makes a tangible, real difference to people’s lives on a daily basis, and to, once again, be able to work with such a dedicated and professional cadre of personnel, both military and civilian. I am in no doubt about the challenges ahead as we prepare to transfer delivery of the UK’s helicopter SAR service to a new provider and look forward to working with the Department for Transport to ensure that the UK enjoys a seamless transfer to the new SAR service.”

Group Captain Mackmin will shortly complete her Sea King refresher training, and, despite the many demands that accompany her new role as the RAF Search and Rescue Force Commander, she is looking forward to flying with her operational crews when she visits the RAF’s search and rescue detached units, located at strategic locations around the UK and overseas’ – when not otherwise engaged in climbing mountains with the RAF’s 4 mountain rescue teams or visiting the UK Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre!

Group Captain Nicholson will shortly deploy to take up a post as JOC Commander in Afghanistan.

, , , ,

Copyright © 2024 HeliHub

Website by Design Inc

Helihub logo