RAF Marham personnel thanked for the part they played in Libyan conflict

Personnel from RAF Marham have been publicly thanked by the Government for their contribution to military Operations in Libya after leading a parade to Westminster.

The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, invited them to lead a parade of servicemen and women who served on the international operation, followed by a reception in the Palace of Westminster.

'The 'welcome homes' we offer to troops returning from operations are Parliament's way of saying thank you for all that our Armed Forces do in our name,' he said.

'The response of Members of Parliament and Peers is a testament to the high regard in which we hold them, and our respect for their service.'

An E-3D Sentry and one Sentinel aircraft from RAF Waddington flew over the Houses of Parliament to mark the occasion, flanked by Typhoons and Tornado GR4 jets.

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Leading the parade of 120 RAF, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps men and women was Wing Commander Nick Tucker-Lowe, commanding officer of Marham-based IIAC Sqn.

'We started the operation planning the storm shadow raids that were flown on the 3000 mile round trip from the UK to Libya and back,' he said.

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'They were the first UK launched bombing missions we had flown since the Second World War. We then deployed to Gioia Del Colle in Southern Italy and flew missions from there for the next five months over the skies of Libya.

'I flew 62 Tornado GR4 missions, about 330 hours in total. That was about the going rate for most of the aircrew that I commanded for that time, it was non stop. 'There was always an aircraft patrolling the skies over Libya, getting airborne, landing, crews briefing or debriefing. There was no respite - each flight lasted up to eight hours, the equivalent distance of flying from London to Boston in the United States.

'It is an honour to march alongside so many hard working and determined servicemen and women; the success we had in Libya was success on behalf of the people of Libya. The people of Libya won the battle for Libya and they were supported by us.

'At Marham it was pretty intense but it was also hugely reassuring because Marham was one cohesive team irrespective of what people were doing on station.

'We are very proud of the difference we were able to make that we were able to save the lives of Libyan people and to give them the opportunity to choose their own future for years to come. We are also proud of the support we get from the British public.'

The troops were hosted by James Gray MP, Chairman of the All Party Group for the Armed Forces.

'When troops march into Parliament for a welcome home, they are applauded in by Parliamentarians and staff,' he said.

'Politics are put to one side, arguments forgotten, while we honour those who serve and are prepared to sacrifice for their nation.'

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