High praise for RAF Odiham personnel

Basingstoke Gazette: Mark Francois MP on his visit to RAF Odiham Mark Francois MP on his visit to RAF Odiham

THE minister in charge of the Armed Forces has praised Chinook personnel after a visit to RAF Odiham.

Mark Francois MP toured the north Hampshire airbase last Thursday – his first visit since his appointment in October to Minister of State for the Armed Forces.

His tour included meeting members of the Joint Helicopter Support Squadron, lunching with personnel and civilian staff, and visiting the base’s workshops to see how engineers provide support for the aircraft.

Mr Francois finished his visit with a tour of 27 Squadron, where he heard from personnel who had recently returned from a tour of Afghanistan. He also held a forum, taking questions from members of 27 and 18 Squadrons.

Afterwards, Mr Francois said: “It was a privilege to meet the men and women of RAF Odiham, to see at first hand the vital work they do to fly and maintain the United Kingdom’s Chinook fleet, and to learn more about the role Chinooks play within the UK support helicopter capability.”

Group Captain Richard Maddison, station manager at RAF Odiham, said it was an “utmost pleasure” to host the visit.

He added: “The Chinook helicopter has been at the forefront of military operations since 1982, delivering support in numerous ways not just in conflict, but also during times of humanitarian crisis and where national resilience is required.

“None of this would be possible, however, without the adaptable and capable military and civilian personnel stationed here at Odiham, who are the key enabler for all of our military operations.”

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