Excited family and friends gathered on Friday at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton to welcome back 211 Flight from 815 Naval Air Squadron from their 7 month deployment at Sea embarked on HMS Argyll.
The warship HMS Argyll has returned to her base port, Devonport but for 211 Lynx Flight home is RNAS Yeovilton following their epic seven month deployment in Argyll which has seen them conduct a range of operations in the seas around Africa, the Falklands, the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean.
This scope of operations, from counter narcotics, to working with partner nations in Africa, to reassurance in the Falkland Islands has displayed the huge variety of tasks a Royal Navy warship and her Lynx Flight can undertake. On counter-drugs operations in the Pacific HMS Argyll has helped her allies to seize more than six tonnes of contraband valued at $116 million US dollars.
Among the family members, eagerly awaiting the return of her husband, is Hannah Phillips cuddling 9 month old Rudy who is oblivious to all the excitement going on around him and his daddy, Lieutenant (Lt) John Phillips, Pilot, who last saw his son when he was a few weeks old.
Lt Phillips said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get home to my family after a long seven months away Rudy has changed massively, when I went away I put him down and he stayed still now he’s a bit of a rascal crawling all over the place causing carnage for his parents.
“It’s been a hugely enjoyable deployment and highlights were definitely the stops in Cape Town, South Africa and Key West, Florida, it’s been fascinating to see such a diverse mix of countries in such a short time whilst conducting operations.”
Hannah Phillips said: “I’ve been keeping busy with family and friends in John’s absence and looking after Rudy single handed, it’s amazing to have him back but I am really looking forward to some help around the house.”
Flight Commander Lt Ben Jewson, excitedly greeted by his eight year old niece Molly Conway said: “It’s been great we’ve visited 4 continents, 16 countries and delivered effect round West Africa, Falklands, through the Eastern Pacific and into the Caribbean. After such a challenging and productive deployment promoting partnerships and the variety of tasks we in the Royal Navy undertake, it’s great to be home.”
The most capable Type 23 Frigate has travelled 36,000 nautical miles during her deployment visiting 16 countries across 8 time zones. She has experienced all types of weather from equatorial Africa and the Caribbean to the iceberg filled South Atlantic burning 3300 tonnes of fuel.
Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Neild, said: “Argyll’s deployment stands as an exemplar in the defence community as to the flexibility and agility represented by a UK Frigate on operations. We have conducted a vast range of tasking across half the globe. The capacity we built in Africa, the reassurance and training in the South Atlantic and the 116 million US dollars worth of drugs we helped stop in Central America all show the value for money that a most capable warship, such as Argyll, provides. I am immensely proud of my ‘Band of Brothers’ for their commitment and professionalism throughout.”
Press Release, September 16, 2013; Image: Royal Navy