The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced the return of its RAF Brize Norton air mobility team from a four-month deployment to West African country Mali.
The team was deployed to Mali to establish an airhead for the newly operational UK ‘military contingent serving with the united nation’.
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the largest station with a workforce of nearly 5,800 staff, 1,200 contractors and 300 civilian staff.
The team from the United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron (UKMAMS) was led by Sergeant Dan Ashford.
Ashford oversaw the unloading required to deploy the ‘Light Dragoons led Long Range Reconnaissance Group’. This group is currently operating as part of the ‘UN peacekeeping mission’ in Mali.
Dan Ashford said: “The role of UKMAMS is to provide the equipment and expertise to enable forward operating in austere conditions that will allow the UK military to deploy worldwide as required.
“In Mali, I supervised the team that unloaded the various RAF aircraft that were transporting the personnel and equipment for the army deployment.”
The latest UK air deployment is considered the largest after the Op Herrick Afghanistan deployment in 2006.
According to RAF, the Mali operation has witnessed more than 640t of freight and 24 aircraft sorties with nearly 300 military members on board from the UK.
Dan Ashford added: “It was an honour to wear the UN beret and represent my squadron in Mali, demonstrating our capability.
“My most memorable part of the operation was realising the sense of achievement we all had after knowing that we had done it and completed the task.”