High Wycombe stays regimented

ROYAL Air Force High Wycombe is to maintain its regimental lead with Group Captain Frank Clifford handing Command of the Station over to RAF Regiment colleague Group Captain Philip Lester.

The Station provides operational and real life support for the headquarters of Air Command, 1 Group, 2 Group, 22 (Trg) Group and 38 Group, as well as other Lodger Units such as Manning and HQ Joint Forces Air Component.

During the handover on 2nd March 2015, Group Captain Lester said “I am extremely honoured to be taking the responsibility of Station Commander RAF High Wycombe. The support that we provide to HQ Air Command and other vital Lodger Units is crucial to their continued operation, as well as the provision of welfare and assistance to their personnel and families.”

“I am also excited by the challenges of supporting the RAF Diaspora worldwide and United States Visiting Forces throughout the UK. Diaspora ensures that the 6000 RAF personnel not under RAF command remain linked to the Service, whilst the United States Air Force are able to operate from 8 Stations around the country. RAF High Wycombe is the epitome of the whole force and I am delighted to be working with such a committed civilian, contractor and military team.”

The Station’s new Commanding Officer has vast experience from his 28 years of Service, working on RAF Regiment Field and Light Armoured Squadrons, as well as serving with the Harrier Force and commanding 3 RAF Force Protection Wing at Basra. He has served around the world in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Cyprus, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

Since taking over Command on 12th April 2013, Group Captain Clifford has significantly improved facilities for the Station and strengthened the bonds between the whole force of  serving personnel, Civil Servants, contractors and the local community. He is now due to deploy to Sierra Leone as the UK military deputy commander in the fight against Ebola.

When reflecting on his tour as Station Commander he said “This has been one of the highlights of my career and I have had the privilege to work alongside some fantastic people. It has been a tremendously rewarding experience and great fun, and I would like to thank everyone on Station and in the local community for their endeavour over the last 2 years.’

Councillor Khalil Ahmed, the Mayor of High Wycombe, is full of admiration for the outgoing CO and said “Frank has been very supportive of our local traditions – at the Freedom Parade last year the crowds were thrilled to see a Hurricane swoop over the high street whilst a parade from RAF High Wycombe marched through accompanied by the Central Band of the RAF. Events such as this and the various Remembrance Sunday ceremonies would not be successful without the full support of the Station Commander and his team.”