Gary Awarded Top RAF Honour!
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By Flying Officer Dave Elliott RAFVR(T) - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron
A Royal Air Force officer from the region has received the highest RAF accolade in recognition of outstanding services in the RAF.
Volunteer Reservist, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, Officer Commanding of 2344 (Longbenton) Air Cadet Squadron, was presented with the Chief of the Air Staff Commendation in a special ceremony held at RAF Northolt. Gary was awarded the Commendation, along with 18 other personnel from the RAF, Navy and Army.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Andrew Pulford, said. “It is pleasing to see the Volunteer Reserves being recognised at this level and the Commendation recognises the exceptional service personnel have given to the Royal Air Force.”
Gary’s professionalism, sustained commitment, dedication and inspirational leadership were commended as he received his award. His citation reading; ‘He regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest standard of training and widest range of activities for all cadets under his command.’ Gary took command of Longbenton Squadron in February 2008 and led an inspiring transition from an initially lacklustre unit to a thriving and vibrant detachment that has provided, and continues to provide, previously undreamed of opportunities for hundreds of youngsters from the local area, and supported them to achieve almost 500 internationally recognised qualifications.
Gary has led the Squadron to be recognised as the Top Air Cadet Squadron in the UK, and the unit is soon to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough of North Tyneside. Gary said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony with my family at RAF Northolt and it was humbling to receive the Commendation alongside some incredible colleagues.” “It’s a real privilege to command Longbenton Squadron and work with such an inspirational group of young people and volunteer instructors; they are the Squadron’s real assets and the CAS Commendation reflects that.”
The CAS Commendation is the highest accolade awarded in the RAF with recipients being announced in the Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honour lists.
If you’re in Year 8 or above and are interested in the squadron, please visit www.2344.org.uk.