RAF Police welcomed home from operations
More than 100 Royal Air Force Police personnel marched through Bedford this weekend in their first ever public homecoming parade after six months serving in Camp Bastion.
No 2 (Tactical) Police Squadron (TPS) returned to their headquarters at RAF Henlow two weeks ago. Yesterday they proudly marched alongside other RAF Police colleagues back from their work supporting operations in the Middle East and the Falkland Islands.
For 23-year-old Corporal Nicola Lilley, based at RAF Leuchars, this was her first tour of duty in Afghanistan. She said:
“As Bastion Security Flight, we were part of the force protection element for both inside and outside the camp. I have been out on patrols with the US Marines, on medical outreach missions to Afghan women. I provided security in the compounds whilst the female medics went in to issue aid. I enjoyed interacting with the locals – you feel that you are making a difference.”
Also taking part in the homecoming parade were RAF Police reservist personnel and four military working dogs with their handlers, representing some of the many and varied roles carried out by the RAF Police on operations around the world.
Corporal Ieuan Guest, 29, is a reservist with No 3 (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) Police Squadron. He was mobilised from his day job in the Metropolitan Police to serve his first six-month tour in Afghanistan. He said:
“I get the best of both worlds – doing my bit for the community back home in the UK and then doing something extra with my RAF family. On my tour I worked closely with the Afghan National Army, providing force protection out on joint patrols.
“During my time there we could really see the changes in the infrastructure – we saw it build up, near the highways. One area used to be a small village of a few tents, now they have a petrol station and a parade of shops. Our team definitely made a difference, helping to provide the security to enable the locals to build.”
Bringing up the rear of the parade was an all-female military working dog team, including handler Corporal Amanda Banks, 22, and four-year-old Alsatian Shandy. Corporal Banks has just completed four months in the Falkland Islands:
“As a junior rank within my trade I walk the patrol areas with a police dog – I’m security for the airfield,” she said.
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