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RAF officer to enjoy birthday bash with folks
RAF navigator Nic Holland is this week returning home to Lyme Regis following a gruelling four-month tour of Afghanistan and two years abroad.
Squadron Leader Holland, 34, is a navigator on No.II (AC) Squadron, the oldest squadron in the Royal Air Force, working on the Tornado GR4s.
He is looking forward to getting home this week and celebrating his birthday today with his family.
Sqn Ldr Holland, a former pupil and head boy at the Woodroffe School, said: “I have just spent two years working abroad with the RAF, followed straight after by this four-month tour of Afghanistan.
“I am looking forward to getting home to see my mother and father at their home in Lyme Regis, and celebrating my birthday on Halloween.”
Sqn Ldr Holland’s role in Afghanistan is to monitor the sensors and weapons systems in the back of the Tornado GR4 aircraft providing over watch and air support to coalition and partnered Afghan National Army (ANA) patrols on the ground.
A typical day on the squadron in Afghanistan begins with a series of briefs detailing the weather, intelligence reports and the missions for the day.
After that, Sqn Ldr Holland and the pilot will prepare for their flight, which could last for anything up to six hours. Sqn Ldr Holland, who joined the RAF in 2000, said: “After each mission, you are pretty tired. But it’s nothing to what the guys on the ground feel like after their missions. “You have to stay focused throughout each flight, because you can see stuff on the ground that the guys might not be able to see – that is where we come in providing support from the air.”
The Tornado GR4s of II (AC) Squadron are working with International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) on the ground, as well as ANA partnered and led patrols.
The Tornado GR4s are called in to provide shows of presence, surveillance or kinetic support.
During this transitional phase of Operation Herrick, kinetic force is required less and less.
Sqn Ldr Holland said: “Our role has turned a lot more towards reconnaissance, to provide over watch so that troops can move safely on their patrols or shows of presence to deter insurgents from their activities. Whilst we are airborne, we can be re-roled at a moment’s notice, so we have to remain flexible.”
While deployed, he has also been supporting the II (AC) Squadron charity event, which supports Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
Each member of the squadron has been running, cycling or rowing the distance from Farnborough Airport to Montrose in Scotland, which commemorates the first journey that a II (AC) Squadron aircraft made.
Sqn Ldr Holland has managed to almost make his way there and back, covering a distance of 2,148km and has just 1,074km left to go. Donate online at bmycharity.com/2sqn.