Connect

March 2017

Connect the newsletter of the Irish Defence Forces

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march 2017 Vol 21 Issue 1 www.military.ie Defence Forces Newsletter READ MORE Farewell Message From GOC Air Corps I t has been a privilege to serve as GOC AC these last six years. I previ- ously served in operations appoint- ments in ACHQ for eight years and also saw overseas service in MINURSO but the bulk of my career was as an opera- tional pilot and instructor for twenty- nine years!! As Formation Commander, it has been a proud and privileged time to be entrusted with leading the most enthusiastic, professional and dedicat- ed aviation team who continue to serve their State with honour, dignity and an enthusiasm. This greets you at the Main Gate and follows you all the way to 50,000 feet! I joined a very different Defence Forces in 1974, where the UN Congo mission had concluded barely ten years previously, the UN mission in Cyprus was the big mission and UN observer missions were few and far between. Border security activity was first and foremost in our nations minds with the Air Corps daily engaged in the provision of national SAR service from Baldonnel, the deployment of a helicopter in Finner Camp in support of the then new 28th Battalion and also in maritime patrolling and photographic survey activity in sup- port of the Naval Service and Ordnance Survey Office. Along the way I have been fortunate to fly many exciting and challenging air- craft and helicopters, from de Havilland Chipmunks through Aerospatiale Fouga Magister twin-jets to the Pilatus PC9M, from Alouette's to the fabulous Gazelle helicopters. I have flown with so many professional members of the Air Corps flight deck teams; from the Flying Train- ing Schools' highly skilled instructors to the impressive 'magicians' of instruct- ing in the art of helicopter flying, from the closely knit SAR crews to formation display teams on helicopters, Mar- chetti SF260's and even Cessna's!! I have thoroughly enjoyed giving back all that I have learnt along the way to the many courses of trainee pilots undergoing their "Wings" courses and seeing them get on with their careers. I also instructed qualified pilots who passed through the Flying School on their Flight Instructors Courses, entrusting to them the very future of the Air Corps as the standard bearers of the 'right stuff'. This is the very essence of our air standards as only by training our own and ensuring that they possess the Airmanship matched with high quality handling skills can we be sure of the ability to be safe and to be able to complete on our missions to a safe, quality standard in the air. An organisation as complex as the Air Corps requires considerable administra- tive, CIS, medical and logistics support of many hues, to make it work and keep it operating at the optimum efficiency. There are many personnel far from the flight line involved daily in providing assistance to those at the 'sharp end'. These are very much unsung heroes and it is appropriate that I acknowledge their fine work in this my last official public effort in print! In every Unit and Squadron, every Staff and Section where I have served I encountered the highest standards of technical expertise and quality, flown with fantastic SAR and General Purpose and MATS aircrews, and was kept safe and sound by diligent air traffic con- trollers in all weathers, day and night. The demanding work for all of these specialists continues and it is reassuring for me to note at first hand during the many flights that I have undertaken in recent years that the standards have not been allowed to erode with the passage of time. As the Air Corps mission profile and capabilities have expanded, so too have the Air- manship and flying skills been im- proved with, for example, the advent of night vision aided flying on our helicopter fleet and the evolution of long range maritime patrol missions inter- spersed with long range resupply flights to Lebanon. The Air Corps can be confi- dent that it has the skill sets to enable it to undertake any mission or role assigned by Government, given the resources. The Air Corps is facing challenging times but investment in new equip- ment is shortly to become a reality for our formation as the 44 year old Cessna aircraft are to be replaced with a more capable aircraft and a new ATC facility due for construction. The CASA's are ap- proaching 25 years in service and will be replaced with two larger, longer-range units which will cover the expanded sea space faster and for longer than the cur- rent two CN235MPA can do. Interesting times ahead! I sign off by thanking all in the Air Corps for their support and wishing you and the wider Defence Forces the very best of fortune in the future. Contents THE 1916 CENTENARY COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL DF HILL RUNNING SERIES 2017 DF REVIEW 2017 COURSES & FIXTURES FRAMEWORKS POSTER SUDUKO COMPETITION BY BRIG GEN PAUL FRY

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