Soldiers mark return with medal parade

Air Trooper Owen Jones,left ,s and  Air Trooper Mike Colton with their medals and an Apache. 'Photo: MoD/Corporal Andy Reddy RLC ANL-141113-115230001

Air Trooper Owen Jones,left ,s and Air Trooper Mike Colton with their medals and an Apache. 'Photo: MoD/Corporal Andy Reddy RLC ANL-141113-115230001

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Wattisham’s 3 Regiment Army Air Corps held a medal parade to mark the return of its final contingent of troops from Afghanistan.

Lord Tollemache, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, presented operational service medals to 54 soldiers from 662 Squadron, which returned last week with its Apache attack helicopters, as British combat operations in Helmand Province ended.

Lord Tollemache said: “662 Squadron has made a quite extraordinary contribution, undertaking five tours over the course of the campaign in Afghanistan.

“It is therefore fitting that they should be the squadron entrusted with protecting Camp Bastion as coalition ground forces extracted and handed over the security of Helmand Province to the Afghan National Security Forces.”

The regiment’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Neville, said: “This parade has been an occasion for us to come together as a regiment to welcome our soldiers home and recognise their important contribution to operations in Afghanistan this year.”

Major Charlie Hillman, officer commanding 662 Sqn, said: “It was a great honour to command 662 Squadron as we took the Apache ‘over the finishing line’ in Afghanistan, especially as I had served as a pilot in the squadron’s first tour in 2007.

“Each of my soldiers can be proud of their contribution to this final tour and it’s great to be back to see our families, who have been really well looked after by the welfare team.”