The ‘Millies’ recognise the extraordinary acts of bravery, fortitude and determination of our Armed Forces and is dedicated to those who have fallen since the 2012 awards.
Air Marshal ‘Baz’ North, Air Member for Personnel and Capability and Deputy Commander Capability represented the RAF at the event: “It was a privilege to attend the 2014 Sun Military Awards and to witness the telling at first hand of the supreme acts of bravery, professionalism and selfless dedication to duty shown by the men and women of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces and their civilian counterparts during the last year. Each and everyone of the nominees and winners should be justifiably proud of their achievements; all the servicemen and women of the 3 Armed Services should take comfort from the high regard in which they are held by the nation. I am extremely grateful and indebted to those members of the British public who have made the effort to nominate our personnel in the various categories; it means so much to them all to have their dedication and sacrifice acknowledged in this way.”
The awards are judged by ex Service Chiefs and a celebrity panel and are split into different categories. The Best Unit category was won by 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, Tornado Detachment based at Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan. Sqn Ldr Mark Jackson, a pilot with 617 Sqn is currently deployed: “It is a great privilege for the Tornado GR4 detachment at Kandahar to be nominated in such a prestigious category, and to win is a fantastic honour. It’s a huge morale boost for everyone out here, as it is for those at home on our sister squadrons who are preparing to deploy. Since June 2009, the Tornado GR4 has been on-call, night and day, to support British and Allied forces throughout Afghanistan in the Close Air Support, Reconnaissance and Intelligence gathering role. It is therefore truly humbling that the great work of our airmen and airwomen, with the support of our families, has been recognised.”
RAF Tornado GR4 attack and reconnaissance aircraft has been on active service for twenty-three consecutive years, serving with distinction in Iraq, Kosovo, Libya and Afghanistan. The 5 Tornado Sqns; II(AC), XI(B), 12(B), 31 and 617 are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk and RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, with most having done more than one tour at the base in southern Afghanistan and many having spent more than a year there.
RAF Marham’s Station Commander, Group Captain Harv Smyth said “Winning the Millie is phenomenal news for the Tornado Force, and for Royal Air Force Marham. This award isn’t just for the team that have served in Afghanistan as part of the Tornado Detachment at Kandahar: its as much for those people back here at home, including families and local community, who religiously support the ‘pointy end’ of the front line and underpin our ability to deliver air support at any place, and at any time. This has been a Whole Force effort, and that fact makes me especially proud – what a wonderful early Christmas present.”
Hollywood actor Tom Hardy presented representatives from RAF Marham and sister station RAF Lossiemouth with the award. After having first hand experience of flying in a Tornado GR4 at RAF Marham, Tom Hardy spoke of his respect for the RAF personnel who fly and maintain the aircraft and for the service personnel who have deployed on Op Herrick in Afghanistan.