Posted: 30.06.20 at 09:35 by Kurt Robson
A Royal Navy sailor from Cornwall is heading for the Caribbean having completed the tough training to become an aircraft handler.
Harrison Swan, aged 20 and originally from Nottingham but now living in Helston, will now go on to serve on the ship RFA Argus, which is on hurricane-patrol with UK Overseas Territories.
He has qualified to become a naval airman - an old-fashioned term which nowadays includes men and women - after intensive training at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose at Helston, Cornwall.
Aircraft handlers have a dangerous job working on exposed flight decks in all weathers to manoeuvre aircraft. They also train in rescue and firefighting in case of emergencies.
Naval Airman Swan, a former pupil of Helston Community College, said: “I joined the navy to serve my country, to gain experience and have an exciting life. I really enjoyed the live fire exercises during training. Now I want to use my training and excel in my role as a naval airman.”
A special ceremony was held at the air station on Friday, June 26, where the 16 successful students passed into the ranks of the Aircraft Handlers’ Branch to begin their careers on front-line service.
Another airman will join also join RFA Argus while others will be drafted to HMS Albion, the Commando Merlin Helicopter Force or working with F35 jets at RAF Marham.
The majority of the new airmen will join the navy’s new aircraft carriers.
Lieutenant Commander Billy Benton, the commanding officer of the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations, said:
“I’d like to congratulate all the men and women of this qualifying course who have shown the determination and qualities to become a naval airman aircraft handler.
“Many will go on to serve on the flight decks of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth or HMS Prince of Wales. Each also passes into the prestigious Aircraft Handlers’ Branch.
“Although we have been unable to invite the students’ families and friends to witness the parade due to the coronavirus lockdown, I am confident that their nearest and dearest will share my feelings of pride at their success and join me in wishing them the very best in their future careers. Well done all.”
Naval Airman Swan will next join 1700 Naval Air Squadron, which deploys teams of sailors to ships to support flying operations. His next ship is RFA Argus.