654 SQUADRON DISBANDMENT PARADE
The disbandment of 654 Squadron was marked with a parade at Wattisham Flying Station on 8 July 14.
Whilst it was with great sadness that we were to lose the Squadron, the parade provided the perfect opportunity to take the time to remember and celebrate the accumulated history and achievements of those that had served before us. It featured music from The Band of The Parachute Regiment, and a flypast by Auster, Gazelle, Lynx and Apache attack helicopters. The flypast highlighted a selection of the seven types of aircraft which have seen active service throughout 71 years of the Squadron’s history in North Africa and Italy during WW2 and more recently Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Since 2008, the Squadron has served 4 tours of Afghanistan returning most recently in February 2014. Over this time 654 delivered an immense contribution to stabilising the country having flown an estimated 9,500 operational flying hours and conducted in the order of 250 deliberate operations,1500 high readiness call outs to troops needing urgent assistance or casualty evacuations and 2500 routine tasks. The parade also saw 10 members of the squadron presented with Operational Service Medals by General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE, NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Colonel Commandant of the Army Air Corps. A particularly proud moment, shared with many family and friends. It also marked the end of 4 Regiment’s involvement in Afghanistan which was particularly significant as 664 Squadron had returned to the UK the previous week. As to the future, 654 Squadron’s badge and number will be placed on the suspended list to join 655 Squadron to be used again when another Squadron is raised. Most of the Squadron members will remain with the Apache Force while some are posted on to meet new challenges.