Lowestoft airman helps RAF Marham colleagues on third tour of Afghanistan
- Credit: Corporal Helen Farrer
An RAF airman from Lowestoft has been serving his third tour of Afghanistan.
Flt Sgt Simon 'Si' Roberts, is serving a four-month deployment as the engineering manager in charge of a shift of over 50 aircraft technicians with IX (Bomber) Squadron, based out of Kandahar Airfield. He is responsible for engineering standards and practices on the Tornado GR4 deployment as well as personnel welfare and discipline.
Flt Sgt Roberts, 52, joined the RAF straight from school in 1977 aged 16 and spent two tours in Germany. He has since served 27 years on the Tornado Fleet, including operations over Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and the Falklands. He is now based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
'With the rapidly changing circumstances that we're operating in, we have frequently had to scramble aircraft to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ground effort,' he said.
'Everybody knows how important our task is and everybody pulls their weight accordingly.'
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Flt Sgt Roberts, who lives with his wife Karen in Lowestoft and has two grown-up children – Rachael and David – said preparation was all-important when building up to a tour. 'We train long and hard in the lead-up to an operation like this, and that training has certainly paid off,' he added. 'I am extremely proud of the guys and girls who work for me; for their professionalism, dedication and sheer hard work in extremely trying circumstances'.
Flt Sgt Roberts, whose parents live in Kessingland, regularly runs 10k and half marathons to raise money for service charities including Forces Children's Trust, Help for Heroes and Royal British Legion.
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He will be running the Bungay Half Marathon and King's Lynn Grand East Anglian Run to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund when he returns home later this month.
IX (Bomber) Squadron was formed in December 1914 and has recently served in Iraq and in Libya, where it flew 3,000 mile missions from RAF Marham.