No. 2623 (East Anglian) Squadron RAF Regiment
|No. 2623 Squadron RAuxAF Regiment|
|Active||1 July 1979 - present|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Type||Air Force Infantry|
|Garrison/HQ||Depot - RAF Honington|
"Gebeorgan Ond Werian"(Protect and Defend)
No. 2623 (East Anglian) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force is a part of the Royal Air Force Regiment, based at RAF Honington. It was formed on 1 July 1979 to provide ground defence of the station. Tasked with preventing Soviet Special Forces from disrupting flying operations, personnel were recruited from across East Anglia and formed an integral part of the Station's war-fighting capability for the next 15 years. Throughout this period, the Squadron participated in many exercises and held annual camps in the United Kingdom, Germany and Gibraltar, winning the Strickland Trophy competition in 1991.
The Squadron disbanded as a field squadron on 18 April 1994, reforming on 1 June 1995 as a training unit, providing centralised training to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment field Squadrons, resulting in the word "Training" being added to the Squadron's title to reflect the new role. This role was later subsumed into Training Wing at Royal Air Force Honington and the Squadron subsequently switched roles again.
The Strategic Defence Review in the mid -1990s had identified the need to provide sustainment of the Royal Air Force's Ground Based Air Defence Force. As a result, the Squadron resumed its original title and took on a new role in October 1998 with a mix of regulars and auxiliaries operating the highly sophisticated Rapier Field Standard C missile system, being declared operational in its new role in April 2001. In May 2003, many of the Squadron's personnel were mobilised and deployed to the Falkland Islands to augment 16 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment as the Resident Rapier Squadron, providing the ground based air defence of the Mount Pleasant Complex from July 2003 to January 2004. Ground based air defence passed to the Royal Artillery in entirety following the 2004 Defence Review, but under Royal Air Force command. At the same time, a need for the Squadron to provide a new capability was also highlighted, resulting in the Squadron re-rolling once again to provide a key component of the Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Regiment's operational output from March 2004. Deploying to Canada in 2005 and then Cyprus in 2006, the Squadron won the Inspector's Cup for Excellence in 2007 and Kemp Dirk for recruiting during 2008.
In June 2008, Number 8 Royal Air Force, Force Protection Wing was stood up to undertake a single operational tour at Kandahar Airfield within Operation HERRICK. The Wing comprised Headquarter elements from Royal Air Force Henlow, together with Number 27 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment and Number 2623 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment and resulted in a temporary change to a purely Dismounted Close Combat role for both squadrons. The Wing deployed to Kandahar Airfield from August 2009-February 2010 and a large number of reservist personnel from 2623 Squadron were mobilised, serving within both 27 Squadron and the Wing Headquarters itself. On completion of the operational tour, both squadrons returned to their previous role within the renamed Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment, more recently the squadron has become part of the Defence CBRN Wing.
The Squadron Crest
The Standard features the Squadron crest, which was awarded in 1988. The crest demonstrates the Squadron's links with East Anglia, with the wolf salient representing the 'Wolfmen' - the Danes who ravages and then settled in East Anglia during the Dark Ages. The crossed arrows represent the martydom of St Edmund and allude to the Squadron's association with the local town of Bury St Edmunds. The motto 'Gebeorgan Ond Werian' is Anglo-Saxon and can be loosely translated as Protect and Defend.
- "2623 (East Anglian)". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Kingsley M Oliver, Through Adversity: History of the Royal Air Force Regiment, Forces & Corporate Publishing Ltd., 1997. ISBN 0-9529597-0-4.
- Tim Ripley, 'RAF Regiment to boost equipment and recruitment', Jane's Defence Weekly, 16 April 2008, p. 10.