RAF Leeming regiment return home to huge crowds
Almost 3000 people lined the streets of a North Yorkshire market town to welcome home officers & airmen from RAF Leeming’s Number 2 Force Protection Win.
The Wing have just returned from a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan which saw service in extreme weather, hostile conditions and time away from their families over Christmas.
750 pupils from local schools, 350 servicemen from RAF Leeming and in excess of 1500 well wishers from around the region lined the streets of Bedale, joining proud parents, families & loved-ones in welcoming the heroes home.
The Operational Service Medal with the Afghanistan Clasp was presented to 41 servicemen by Air Commodore Russ La Forte, Honorary Chief of Staff for 2FP Wing, and Councillor Mrs Amanda Coates, the Mayor of Bedale.
Number 2 Force Protection Wing was based at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province for the duration of their deployment, conducting Force Protection Operations in which they secured the area surrounding the airfield and landing zones in order that aircraft had a greater degree of safety when landing and taking off. No 2 FP Wg was made up primarily from 34 Squadron RAF Regiment and airmen from 609 (West Riding) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
2 FP Wing also supported the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) 24-hours a day. These teams respond immediately via helicopter or vehicle to rescue injured UK & ISAF personnel as well as Afghan civilians.
Wing Commander Gus Powell, Officer Commanding Number 2 Force Protection Wing said: “I am very proud that 2FP Wing completed a successful tour of duty in Afghanistan and I am pleased that they have all come back home safely.”
Squadron Leader Morgan Williams, Officer Commanding Number 34 Squadron RAF Regiment said “If I count this as almost the final point of the tour, the highpoint for me is this. All of my men are back safely and the job was achieved”. He added his thoughts on the parade itself: “It’s quite overwhelming and I thought I was made of sterner stuff, but it really was quite emotional leading my men through the streets of Bedale, through a very warm welcome from the locals. It just reinforces that we are very much part of the community here”.