Members of 854 NAS witnessing the lowering of a White Ensign at Camp Bastion. This marks
the final contribution of the last fully formed RN unit on operations in Afghanistan
(RN website photo by Cpl Daniel Wiepen)
RN website 25 July 2014 said:...In Camp Bastion crew members from the Sea King helicopter 854 Naval Air Squadron witnessed the lowering of a White Ensign, marking the final contribution of the last fully formed Royal Naval unit on operations in Afghanistan. 854 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) played a vital role, flying the Sea King Mk 7 Airborne Surveillance and Control Squadron (SKASaCS) aircraft for more than 9,000 hours over 2,000 sorties to support troops on the ground as part of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.
The Defence Secretary said:
“I am pleased to be able to pay tribute to the contribution made by 854 Naval Air Squadron, which has played an essential role in supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan.”
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said:
“The contribution of the SKASaC force over five years has been magnificent, taking the fight to a determined enemy in a vastly unfamiliar environment. Your vital work saved many lives and proved the value of the aircraft over land.”
As well as the Fleet Air Arm, thousands of members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have previously served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Herrick. During Herrick 5 in 2006 and 2007 and Herrick 9 in 2008 and 2009, 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines Headquarters, 42 Commando and 45 Commando were deployed. At those times Royal Navy and Royal Marines made up around 40 per cent of UK troops.
Individuals from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will continue to serve in Afghanistan until the conclusion of combat operations by the end of the year.
As at 12 November 2012, RN personnel (exempt RM personnel) had been issued 9,051 NATO OSMs/clasps for service in Afghanistan. Many FAA, medical personnel (such as AB Kate Nesbitt MC and AEM Michelle Ping), etc., were deployed on HERRICK four, five or more times so this number doesn't fully reflect their contribution. Some RN/RM data was lost during transfer from the single service Medal Office databases to the new MoD Medal Office in March 2005 so these figures are likely to be underestimates.