Base ready to welcome home returning heroes

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WIVES and families at RAF Honington are spending this weekend preparing for a homecoming.

The base will see the return on Tuesday of the 162-strong 15 Squadron RAF Regiment, which has been in Afghanistan since November.

Jo Cripps, wife of the squadron’s commander Ed Cripps, said on Wednesday: “We’re really excited at their homecoming. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Mrs Cripps said the wives had decided to put together a small goody bag for each man and she praised the ‘positive and immediate response’ they had had from those approached to provide things for them, including the Bury Free Press.

She added: “We wanted to include a Bury Free Press because it will help them get back into finding out what’s been happening in the local area while they’ve been away.”

The RAF Regiment has been providing force protection at Nato’s Kandahar airfield since the conflict began in 2004. The regiment has also played a key role in training and mentoring Afghan Police and Army recruits who are due to take command of security in the area once the region is stabilised.

On December 3, 2010, 15 Squadron took the responsibility for the airfield from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment. A spokesman said: “With a surprising dry period from January, the mobility remained high and B Flight were able to operate without getting their vehicles stuck in the deep mud!

“With combined forward operating base tasks, counter surface to air fire prevention and a list of other operations it has been a busy, but rewarding time for the squadron.”

Before leaving Kandahar, they handed over responsibility for airfield protection to the US Army.

They will now go on leave.