FOUR international aviation Awards have been scooped by the Army’s ‘Team Apache’ at Wattisham Airfield.
Two Wattisham units and two pilots have been honoured by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, who only made 20 awards worldwide this year. They were presented at London’s Guildhall yesterday.
The guild was founded in 1930 to foster professionalism among pilots and navigators and became the 81st London Livery Guild in 1956. Its awards chairman Rick Peacock-Edwards, who flew RAF Lightning jets from Wattisham, said: “It’s very unusual for a unit to get more than one award and I can’t think of any other that has had four awards.”
The entire Attack Helicopter Force received the Johnston Trophy. Master of the Guild Capt Wally Epton said it recognised the team effort in ‘making the Apache the weapon of choice in counter insurgency’ and being ‘world leaders in judgmental training and a just culture’.
656 Sq Army Air Corps received the Master’s Commendation for pioneering work in deploying Apaches from ships in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2006. The guild noted that since nomination, it went on to deploy on HMS Ocean for operations in Libya.
The Grand Master’s Commendation went to Capt Matthew Noble-Clarke who spent 19 months on four tours in Afghanistan and was the first Apache pilot to do 1,000 hours in them.
Major David Amlot won the Sir Barnes Wallis Medal for exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation for his judgmental training. Capt Epton said: “I’ve no doubt he saved lives by balancing the helicopter’s attack capabilities with courageous restraint.”
AH Force commander Col Neale Moss said: “I’m hugely proud we were recognised in this way, which does recognise the team effort involved.”