Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter Flight 216 from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has returned home after a seven month deployment in the Caribbean embarked on RFA Mounts Bay.
According to a press release from the Royal Navy, the helicopter and flight personnel, under the command of Lieutenant (Lt) Amy Gilmore, landed back at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton to the delight of their waiting families, friends and colleagues.
“Normally based at the air station in Somerset, the state-of-the-art aircraft was assigned to RFA Mounts Bay for the duration of her Caribbean deployment, to provide security and reassurance to UK Overseas Territories (UKOT), including disaster relief when called upon, and conducting counter-narcotics operations with partners in the region.
When category 5 hurricane Irma struck the small islands in September, the Wildcat helicopter was airborne from day one conducting reconnaissance sorties for Anguilla’s Governor and disaster relief co-ordinators.”
Lt Amy Gilmore said:
“As my first deployment as Flight Commander this has been the most demanding flying I have ever conducted and it has also been the most rewarding.
We have been able to make a real difference in helping the local people recover from the devastation these hurricanes have caused and that’s because of the fantastic team I’ve had the privilege of working with. The Wildcat has delivered beyond all expectations, an absolutely fantastic aircraft.”
Commanding Officer of 815 NAS, Commander Jamieson Stride said:
“I am delighted to welcome 216 Flight back home to 815 NAS after their 7 month deployment with their Wildcat helicopter to the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
Uniquely placed whilst deployed in RFA Mounts Bay to respond instantly after the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma and then Maria, 216 Flight were instrumental in providing the first response to many islanders in the British Overseas Territories and facilitating access to the islands for the follow-on relief effort.
Similarly, their efforts alongside our US counterparts on counter-narcotic operations have had great success. I am extremely proud of their achievements over many months thousands of miles away from home. They and their families should be proud – their dedication and professionalism have been in the finest traditions of 815 NAS and the Fleet Air Arm.”