The RAF's No 7 Force Protection Wing has taken over Force Protection duties at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Camp Bastion houses a population in excess of 28,000 people, and is a critical part of the strategic air bridge, linking RAF Brize Norton in the UK with forces in Afghanistan. The airfield supports around 3,000 flights per week and is considered one of the busiest airfields in the world.
The Force Protection Wing's role is to maintain, alongside the US Marine Corps Headquarters Group, a fully integrated Force Protection capability. This capability exists to protect Bastion, its personnel and assets, whilst disrupting insurgent freedom of movement within a 700 square kilometre defensive zone surrounding the base.
No 7 RAF Force Protection Wing comprises a headquarters and a security squadron of RAF Police drawn from stations across the RAF.
The Wing is augmented by soldiers from the 5th Contingent from the Tongan Defence Services, an Automated Sense and Warn detachment from 16 Regiment Royal Artillery and, more recently, soldiers from The Queen's Royal Lancers' A Squadron.
A gunner from 15 Squadron RAF Regiment providing protection to Camp Bastion during OP HERRICK 17
Picture MOD 2012
Squadron Leader Max Kroyer, Officer Commanding 15 Squadron RAF Regiment, said:
"The squadron has quickly settled in after a successful handover and we are now in the thick of operations. All personnel are working extremely hard, employing the comprehensive training we received back in the UK. This, combined with the quality and professionalism of our personnel, enables us to continue to disrupt the insurgents' freedom of manoeuvre around Camp Bastion."
Senior Aircraftman Matthew White is an RAF Regiment gunner serving on 15 Squadron RAF Regiment and was particularly complimentary about the pre- deployment and in theatre training he received. He said:
"This was the most valuable training that we could receive before we took over as Resident Field Squadron. I for one was really reassured by this training, which without doubt helped to improve my confidence. All instructors here have praised our personnel's professionalism and attitude, which reflects how well we were prepared for the mission."