Congratulations go to the 19 members of TG 5-19 El Alamein Flight that have graduated here at RAF Honington today. Usually attended by families and friends, the graduation took place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Reviewing Officer, Wing Commander Stephen Turner; Officer Commanding, Training Wing said: “Usually, an occasion like this is marked with a firm handshake and with friends and family present to share in the achievements of the graduating Gunners. Today has been a more sombre event, marked with a knowing nod, at range, from the staff who already wear the coveted RAF Regt mudguards. Generating trained manpower to support the UK Armed Forces’ contribution to the COVID-19 response plan, amongst other enduring operational commitments, remains critical to the Service. The Gunners on parade should feel justifiably proud of their achievement, and the contributions they will make in the coming weeks and months in support to the Nation’s priorities. Now, more than ever, their new motto rings true – Per Ardua (through adversity).”

Station Commander Group Captain Matt Radnall said: “I am very pleased to see the latest cohort of RAF Regiment gunners graduating today. Given the current measures in force to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, this is necessarily a muted celebration, but still acknowledges the tremendous effort each individual has invested to earn the right to wear RAF Regiment mudguards on their shoulders. RAF Regiment training continues only where it is absolutely essential to sustain our capability. These graduates are now able to be deployed with their new units as required to meet the threats faced by the RAF, at home and abroad.”

Over the past few weeks, RAF Honington has gone to great lengths to ensure that our directed training activity, deemed essential to the maintenance of RAF operational capability, can be delivered as safely as reasonably possible. This approach includes adherence to Government guidelines, including social distancing, wherever possible.

These Next Generation gunners will continue to face challenges that like Covid19 are unpredictable and fall outside the traditional model of warcraft.

On graduating from this course, over half of the LACs are posted to 1 Sqn RAF Regt here at Honington, with the remainder posted to either 34 Sqn RAF Regt at RAF Leeming or 51 Sqn RAF Regt at RAF Lossiemouth, whereby they will be trained to such a level that they can immediately commence Mission Specific Training for contingency operations.