I can remember as a 19 year old boy speaking to an old friend, who had previously served five years within the 2nd BN Parachute Regiment. He asked me whether I had considered the Royal Air Force as an option for military service? Specifically the 'RAF Regiment'.
When I asked why the RAF Regiment? He told me in some detail that these guys were the elite of the Royal Air Force and their specific role of guarding and maintaining the safety of RAF Air bases meant they adopted a more mechanised infantry role. He then went on to explain that numerous RAF Regiment guys were detached to the regiment and that they always gave a good account of themselves. This information has stuck with me over the years and so I thought I'd do a little research on the RAF Regiments history and its origins.
The Royal Air Force Regiment was formed for the sole purpose of providing close defence of RAF Airfields. The catalyst for formation being the fall of france in 1940, with the Germans unique use of mobility and surprise, "Blitzkrieg" , revolutionised military strategy. Blitzkrieg, demonstrated the vunerability of airfields long considered safe, deep behind enemy lines.
In January 1942 King George VI signed a Royal Warrant for "a Corps formed as an integral part of the RAF" and the RAF Regiment was born.
A clear indication of just how important the RAF Regiment are is the narrative describing the award of an MID.
The Mention in Despatches is the oldest form of recognition of gallantry within the UK Armed Forces, and since 1993, it has been reserved for gallantry during active operations.
SAC Wharton joined the Royal Air Force in October 2003. He was posted to Number 1 Squadron in March 2004. Senior Aircraftman Wharton in currently on Support Weapons Flight and was a Heavy Machine Gunner and team medic throughout his tour in Iraq.
SAC Wharton's citation reads:
Following the rocket attack on the B Flight Accommodation on 19 July 2007, Senior Aircraftman Wharton was one of the first on the scene and helped many of his injured comrades to escape from the burning building, before using his combat medic skills to treat and reassure a number of his badly injured colleagues. On 7 August 2007, Wharton was the heavy machine-gunner on a WMIK (Weapon Mounted Installation Kit – a Land Rover chassis converted into a heavy weapons platform), and despite being struck in the chest and knocked off his vehicle by an enemy round, he remounted the vehicle and then continued to provide covering fire in an exposed and vulnerable position, for over an hour, so that an injured colleague could be rescued.
For his courage and determination in the face of the enemy, Senior Aircraftman Wharton has been mentioned in Despatches
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!