RAF gunners back from Afghanistan
Elaine Maslin Gunners from a Suffolk airbase had emotional reunions with their families last night after returning from a gruelling six-month tour of duty in war-torn Afghanistan.
Gunners from a Suffolk airbase had emotional reunions with their families last night after returning from a gruelling six-month tour of duty in war-torn Afghanistan.
About 150 members of 1 Squadron RAF Regiment, the ground fighting force of the RAF, had completed a half-year operation defending the Kandahar airbase in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, they flew into RAF Mildenhall before being bussed to their home base at RAF Honington, near Thetford, where they met their families, including wives and children who had prepared
banners and posters welcoming them home.
Flt Lt Mick Liston, spokesman for RAF Honington, said after being met by their families they would be going on “a well-deserved leave of absence”.
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The gunners will also go on parade in Bury St Edmunds, where RAF Honington has the Freedom of the Borough.
Large numbers of residents and visitors in the town are expected to turn out and show their respect.
They will be joined on parade by two servicemen injured during the current tour.
One of them, Senior Aircraftsman Craig Richardson, from Dereham, was blown up by an improvised explosive device and lost his lower right leg while on a routine call-out.
On the night he was blown up, in late October last year, he was on a quick-reaction-force posting, on call for anyone outside the base who needed help.
SAC Richardson was standing at the front of their military WMIK Land Rover and the next thing he knew he was on the ground and in severe pain. However, having lost his leg, he is already up and about on his artificial leg.
Flt Lt Liston said both men were doing well and would join the squadron on parade.
There will also be a medal parade at RAF Honington on Saturday.
The squadron lost three airmen as part of operation Telic in Iraq in 2007. None was killed during the last tour.