November 1989 – The Squadron is at Gutersloh flying the Harrier GR3
Here is the latest news from the Squadron, contributed by Dave Cullen.
Six months have passed since my last resum? – a period that has seen change, tragedy and a great deal of flying on IV (AC) Sqn.
Sadly, we lost Sqn Ldr Pete Stone in a flying accident just before Exercise Hill Foil last June. It had just been announced that Pete was about to take a flight commander post on the Squadron. He is, and will continue to be, sadly missed.
Hill Foil was a busy exercise – a preparation for the forthcoming Taceval. I managed to escape the delights of the field by falling off a kerb and damaging an ankle – after a busy time in the Kellar Bar. Two new pilots arrived just after the exercise, Flt Lt Steve Forward – an ex Tornado pilot (we all make mistakes) and Fg Off Bruce Hedley, a true JP (junior pilot) – the first pilot to arrive on the Squadron since April 87. Bruce has been living up to a traditional Flying Officer image, recently turning up at a black tie Sqn dining-in night in his No.5 uniform.
In between field exercises we have concentrated our flying efforts towards getting the new pilots combat ready. We have also been practising new LGB (Laser-Guided Bomb) weapon delivery techniques at Vliehors Range – much to the amusement of the QWIs (weapons instructors, well, gods really) in the cin? debrief room. The usual SAP and ACT flying has continued through out the period – and we have flown on many FAC (Foward Air Controller) exercises. The origami skills of the pilots are now reaching expert levels.A strong team was sent to Fassberg in mid August for Exercise Treaty 89. An excellent time was had both in the air and on the ground. Unusually good weather for Treaty gave us the opportunity to practice FAC techniques against some large realistic targets. The Germans were excellent hosts, providing a joint air and groundcrew party area in a novel location, a large hangar. Visits to the IGB (Inner German Border) and the picturesque town of Celle were organised for the non-flying week end, helping to make Treaty a great success.
Exercise Hazel Flute was marred by bad weather in the first week – allowing plenty of time for quizzes and taceval groundschool preparation. Charlie McIlroy – recently arrived from 3(?) Sqn to take over the vacant OC C slot, joined the five site naturals along with George De La Cour, a cement head on a free transfer for the field deployment. The Taceval was excellent though, and IV (AC) Sqn scored 1s across the board. Shortly after the exercise we said goodbye to Glenn Edge – off to fly a desk in MOD, and Paul Newnham, who is off to the airlines via B Squadron (233OCU) and a Harrier GR5 course.
Ashley Stevenson concluded an excellent display season in mid September with a fine display at Langenthal in Switzerland. Ash has done a great job of being the last Harrier GR3 display pilot, and is shortly off to 1(F) Sqn to fly the GR5. Mark Taberham is also departing for Wittering – he managed to escape the calling of B Sqn 233 OCU and joins Ash at 1(F) Sqn. As we go to press with this second chronicle of Squadron life, the aircraft are returning from a hugely successful exchange visit to CAF Baden Sollingen. Advance reports tell of much socialising in Germany and France and some large multi-national sorties involving Harriers, CF-18s and USAF F-15s from Bitburg. I’m sure details will follow in the next article. I’m off to Chivenor shortly, to take up the post of a Tactical Weapons Unit instructor, so the next potted gen will come from the recently combat ready Steve Forward, who is picking up my job as F540 man. Many thanks for your contributions to the newsletter Dave. Best of luck at Chivenor, and we look forward to you joining the association now that you are ex-IV (AC)!