MESSAGE FROM AIR MARSHAL SIR CHRIS HARPER
– PRESIDENT, NO 41 SQUADRON ASSOCIATION
What a momentous year this has been. The RAF – as you undoubtedly all know – has been incredibly busy on active operations. Nearly 2500 people have been deployed to more than 20 countries in support of 15 operations over 5 continents. I am sure that we all recall the horrendous use of Chemical Weapons by agents from the Russian Federation in our country in March, and by the Syrian regime in Douma in April. This, of course, was followed by precision strikes on Syrian Chemical Weapons installations by the RAF and other allies on 14 April. And, throughout the year, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft and Reaper remotely piloted air systems have continued to conduct strike missions against Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq. They have been supported by Voyager and Hercules for logistic support; Sentinel, Sentry and Rivet-Joint for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance; and an incredible number of ground support personnel from all trades.
The RAF has also been pivotally involved in NATO air policing in Romania and the Baltic States; in the ongoing effort to bring stability to Afghanistan, and in defending the skies of the United Kingdom and its territories through the 24 hour, 7 day a week QRA missions mounted from Coningsby and Lossiemouth in the UK and Mount Pleasant in the Falklands. As a Service we also contributed significantly to Exercise Saif Sareea III in Oman, and to Exercise Trident Juncture in Norway.
In the United Kingdom, the Royal Air Force’s “RAF 100” celebration of our centenary successfully touched nearly every home in the United Kingdom. The themes of Celebrate, Commemorate and Inspire were, I believe sensitively and highly effectively delivered with just the right balance of formal ceremony and informal outreach. Who will ever forget the coverage of the spectacular gala in the Albert Hall on 31 March, the incredible display of every Royal Air Force Squadron Standard in the Royal Courts of Justice on 1 April, and the once-in-a-lifetime events in Westminster Abbey, on and above Horse Guards and at Buckingham Palace on 10 July.
Of particular interest to us, No 41 Squadron has been incredibly busy at home and in the USA in furthering the operational capability of the Typhoon Force. That the RAF has derived by far the most advanced overall capability from this aircraft is due in no small part to the efforts of ‘our’ Squadron and its people. They deserve huge congratulations for all that they have achieved.
I do hope that all members of the No 41 Squadron Association will be able to draw breath, relax a little and share some precious time with families, loved ones and friends during the coming festive season. In thanking you for your ongoing support for our Association, may I wish you all a happy, peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. I do hope to be able to see you at an Association gathering in 2019.
Sir Christopher Harper KBE
No 41 Squadron Association
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