Valedictory Message from outgoing OC XXIV Sqn – Tim Jones

 

We have just received from Tim Jones, current OC XXIV Squadron a personal valedictory message to the Association membership . As you will see, he’s due to hand over command to his successor Wg Cdr Doz James on 7 December although the latter will not be officially in post until 20 December. It reads as follows:-

Wg Cdr Tim Jones

Wg Cdr Tim Jones

“It hardly seems right that I am bidding farewell to you as OC 24 Sqn, and yet already two years has passed since I arrived back at Lyneham to take over command of the Squadron we all cherish. In that time, it seems that as much as could possibly change about the Squadron, has changed. Two years ago, 24 Squadron had a mixture of fully operational crews and conversion instructors. Training on the Hercules was split up between a variety of Lyneham’s Squadrons and the Brize Norton move seemed months away. Today, the Squadron is fully focussed on training and covers all disciplines, not just those associated with the basic skills. We also provide engineering training not only for the Hercules, but also for the VC-10, the TriStar and the C-17. We have moved our individual Flights not once, but several times over many months and we now inhabit a splendid new Headquarters at RAF Brize Norton – the move is complete.

And yet whilst the Squadron’s identity has evolved, there much that has stayed the same. The commitment and dedication of 24 Squadron’s personnel is as strong as it has ever been. That the changes of the past two years have occurred during an exceptionally busy period of operations in both Afghanistan and Libya, is a testament to the talent and energy of our people. They have been simply extraordinary, and I sometimes think the RAF is very lucky to be able to count on such a loyal team. I am very proud of everything they have achieved, and my hope is that they feel proud too, because none of what our country’s Armed Forces have done over the past two years could have taken place without their contribution.

In the same way, we are very grateful for the enduring support we have received from the Association. It is too easy to take for granted the constant presence of our former Squadron members, and the last two years has shown I believe just what a strong relationship between us can achieve. The unveiling of the Hawker Memorial in 2011 must surely represent one of the greatest achievements of our joint history. Without the moral, practical and financial support of the Association, that day would simply not have happened in the way it did. I will always treasure my memories of that week, and the Squadron will always be thankful for the part the Association played in making it happen. Likewise, I am delighted that we were able to create a permanent Roll of Honour to the men of XV216. It is a fitting tribute to those who died in that tragic accident, and I was very touched by some of the letters I received following the Service of Dedication at Brize Norton.”

Twenty-four Squadron is in very good health. The next two years will, of course, provide more challenges, more frustrations and more excitement. I thank Dick and Jackie, and Keith and Peggy for being great supporters, advisors and friends to Susie and me during this busy time. I thank the Association membership for continuing to give such faithful support, and I look forward to joining your ranks very soon. I thank the current members of 24 Squadron for their extraordinary performance during my tour, and I wish my successor Wg Cdr Doz James the very best of luck as he takes 24 Squadron into the next instalment of its fascinating journey.

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