No. 15 Squadron RAF Regiment
|No. 15 Squadron, RAF Regiment|
Members of 15 Squadron RAF Regiment respond to a staged attack on a mock Afghan Police Station at the Stanford Training Area (STANTA) in Norfolk during the final exercise before deploying to Afghanistan.
|Active||1946 - present|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Garrison/HQ||RAF Honington, Suffolk|
|Motto||Yang Pertama Di Mana Mana
(Malayan “To Be Reckoned With Anywhere”)
|Battle honours||Gulf 1991
Former Yugoslavia Jun 95
Bosnia - Jun 97
Kuwait - Feb 99 (Op DESERT FOX)
|Ceremonial chief||ACM Sir Stephen Dalton|
The squadron's current headquarters is at RAF Honington.
15 Squadron RAF Regiment was formed on 1 June 1946 as No 2700 Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) Squadron at RAF Nethertown and equipped with the L40/60 Bofors gun. In the following year, the squadron was re-numbered as 15 LAA Squadron and moved to the RAF Regiment School of Gunnery at RAF Watchet, where it stayed for six months as the demonstration squadron. During the next 11 years, the squadron was based at RAF Netheravon, RAF Pembrey and RAF Innsworth.
In October 1958, the squadron was renamed as No 15 (Field) Squadron. Between November 1959 and January 1960, the squadron deployed two flights to RAF Gan, and the remainder to RAF Changi Internal Security (IS) operations. During the Indonesian Confrontation (1962 - 1965) the squadron operated in Labauan, Brunei, Gan and Malaysia in support of air operations. In September 1964, the squadron was re-deployed to RAF Seletar until its return to RAF Wittering in December 1969.
During the next few years (1970 - 1974), the Squadron completed 5 consecutive 3-month detachments to RAF Salalah, RAF Muharraq and RAF Kai Tak. In between these detachments, the Squadron also undertook 2 emergency deployments to Northern Ireland. Further emergency deployments required 15 Squadron to cover the closure of RAF Luqa and the withdrawal of the RAF in Malta in 1973, and to reinforce RAF Akrotiri following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974.
No 15 Squadron received its first Standard on 10 Oct 75. The approved badge comprises a bended Banded Krait transfixed with a bayonet. This was chosen as the Malaysian snake represents a stealthy intruder attacking and the bayonet symbolises the Squadron repelling this attack. The transfixing is in allusion to the role of the Squadron as a defence force for Royal Air Force installations and bases. The choice reflects the Squadron’s extensive history in the Far East and this was reflected in the Malayan motto of:
‘Yang Pertama Di-Mana Mana”
“To Be Reckoned With Anywhere”
In March 1982, the Squadron was equipped with the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)). During the conversion training period, the Squadron was put on stand-by for Operation CORPORATE. In April 1982, 'C' Flight were deployed to Ascension Island under the command of Headquarters No 3 Wing RAF Regiment, and remained there until the end of hostilities in the Falkland Islands. In September 1982, the Squadron was formally declared operational as a light armour squadron and shortly after began re-training in the IS role for duty in Northern Ireland from January to May 1983.
After returning from Northern Ireland, the Squadron moved to RAF Hullavington in June 1983. In July 1983 the Squadron was deployed at short notice to RAF Greenham Common as part of the forces in support of Operation ROUST. This involved the physical security of RAF Greenham Common as it was threatened by anti-nuclear activists. This continued as a commitment until 1985. From May to September 1984 the Squadron completed another successful tour in Northern Ireland. Between this and other tours in Northern Ireland in 1987 and 1989, the Squadron undertook CVR(T) training and deployments to Germany for both Main Base and Harrier defence exercises.
In July 1990, the Squadron disbanded as a light armour squadron and reverted to its original air defence role, this time equipped with the Rapier surface-to-air missile system. In March 1996, the Squadron drew down as a Rapier FSB1M equipped unit at RAF Leeming and the number was assumed on 1 April 1996 by No 20 Squadron RAF Regiment, previously a United States Air Force funded Rapier Squadron, based at RAF Honington. No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment was re-declared operational to NATO in June 1996.
Since then the Squadron has deployed on many exercises and deployments. During Exercise STRONG RESOLVE in February and March 1998, 15 Squadron deployed to northern Norway, taking Rapier FSC into the Arctic for the first time. On Exercise FLYING FISH 2000, in Malaysia and Singapore, during June and July 2000, we undertook the first deployment of Rapier to a hot-humid jungle environment. Furthermore, post 11 September 2001, 15 Squadron undertook the first operational deployment of Rapier FSC and the first operational deployment of a RAF Regt GBAD Sqn since the Gulf War. Personnel deployed at short-notice to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, in support of Op RESINATE (SOUTH). This saw the execution of a well-organized deployment plan, in defence of RAF assets deployed in the area.
Following on from supporting the Government's efforts to combat the Firemen's Strike in 2002 (Op FRESCO), the squadron very quickly prepared for a deployment to the Middle East, deploying on Op TELIC in the Field Role as the Resident Field Squadron at Ali Al Salem in July 2003. Recovering its primary GBAD role, the Squadron took part in Ex VOLCANEX/DAPEX in September 2004, as part of the European Air Group, which saw the Squadron establish GBAD of a Spanish Air Base in Albacete, Southern Spain. The Squadron undertook its final Falkland Islands tour from November 2004 to July 2005 and began its final round of Standard Evaluation events in 2005/2006. After completing the last Missile Practice Camp in the Hebrides, elements of the Squadron deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2006, prior to embarking on a full re-role, returning once again to its field squadron origins. The Squadron deployed to Afghanistan in that role in 2006/07 and to Iraq in 2009, as the last RAF Regiment unit to defend Basra International Airport.
In 2010, 15 Squadron RAF Regiment deployed to Kandahar Airfield as part of No. 7 Force Protection Wing. The Squadron focused on conducting counter-surface-to-air fire operations, counter-indirect-fire operations and counter-ground attack operations. This was delivered by a high tempo scheme of manoeuvre, which saw 4 Flights deploy for extended periods to conduct joint patrolling with the Afghan Air Force aimed at maximizing interaction with the local population.
On 28 February 2011 at 1200, responsibility for the Ground Defence Area at Kandahar Airfield passed to US Forces. Commander Kandahar Airfield, Brigadier General Jeffrey Kendall USAF, took the opportunity to address the Wing and thank the RAF Regiment for their contribution to Force Protection over the past 6 years acknowledging the sacrifice that had been made to achieve this.
On return to the United Kingdom, 15 Squadron RAF Regiment conducted a well-received welcome home parade through Bury St Edmunds prior to conducting Battle of Britain Parades in Norwich. Throughout this period 15 Squadron RAF Regiment maintained a deployed Flight in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In February 2012 15 Squadron RAF Regiment was greatly honoured to be chosen to host the official visit of HRH Prince Harry of Wales during his recent visit to Station personnel, in his capacity as Honorary Air Commandant Royal Air Force Honington. Prince Harry was greeted by the Squadron Commander, Sqn Ldr Cripps and Squadron Warrant Officer, WO Johnston before presenting awards to a variety of station personnel and members of the wider RAF Regt Family. Thereafter, Prince Harry spent about 45 mins talking to small groups of 15 Sqn personnel on the hangar floor.
The Squadron motto is Yang Pertama Di-Mana Mana (to be reckoned with anywhere).