AN officer from Grantham is commanding a Royal Air Force detachment in Sicily, providing support to the NATO mission over Libya.
Wing Commander Rob Sutton is in charge of the team at Trapani, from where the Royal Air Force flies VC10 refuelling aircraft and E-3D Sentry command and control aircraft.
He said: “The detachment provides a full range of support to the aircraft. I am intensely impressed by the morale here and the hard work people are doing supporting two key assets.
“My role also includes liaising with the host nation – Italy – and building the reputation of the RAF with them.”
In the UK, Rob works at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire, where he is responsible for preparing and generating the RAF’s air combat support units for operations across the world. The units include roles as diverse as construction, catering, bomb disposal, road transport, air transport support and even medical services. Many of these units have been deployed on Operation Ellamy, as the UK calls its contribution to the NATO-led Libyan operation.
Rob said: “It’s really good to see the effect the units have. This operation has shown that we can generate all this capability at short notice.”
The former St Wulfram’s pupil joined the RAF at 29, after a career in imports/exports for numerous Grantham companies.
A varied career has taken him to countries including Germany, Belgium, Bosnia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
He said: “It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I don’t regret a minute of it. The challenge we get, the changing perspectives and challenges from doing different jobs, is immensely rewarding.
“But in terms of contributing good capability to operations, you can’t get better than what I’m doing at the moment.”