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Navy pilots celebrate 2,000 Air Miles

4 November 2016
Two Royal Navy pilots are celebrating marking their 2,000th hour in the air.

Lts Martin Kerr and Chris Suckling recorded the milestone at 660 AAC Squadron at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.

Lt Kerr joined the RN in 2006, completing his Dartmouth training and flying grading on the Grob Tutor – disappointing his parents who are both former RAF personnel.

He then went to RAF Barkston Heath to fly the Firefly before beginning his helicopter career in October 2007 at Shawbury with the Defence Helicopter Flying School.

A year later Lt Kerr bid farewell to the Squirrel and hello to the Sea King as he joined 848 NAS at RNAS Yeovilton.

In August 2009 he joined 846 NAS and completed three tours of Afghanistan before a short time at CHF as the UK tasking ops officer.

He then began an exchange tour with the RAF flying the Sea King Mk3, this time in a search-and-rescue role at RAF Valley, flying the Griffin HT1 before moving across to the yellow Sea King MK3 in August 2012. He was then posted to RAF Boulmer, completing 74 rescue missions both in the UK and in the Falkland Islands.

August 2015 saw Lt Kerr move to RAF Shawbury to complete the QHI course and on completion he was posted to 660 AAC.

He lives on base with his wife Amy and two children, Matthew, four, and Alice, two.

Lt Suckling was assigned to 829 NAS as a small ship’s flight pilot. During 3 ½ years on the squadron he completed numerous deployments, detachments, exercises and trials flying; the longest deployment being eight months at sea resulting in three piracy takedowns and two narcotics boardings. 

During this time he served in Type 23 frigates HMS St Albans, Sutherland, Westminster, Kent and Northumberland as well as Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless.

He then joined 814 NAS for 18 months, converting to the Merlin Mk2 and was largely deployed for the first 12 months to Oman. 

He then went to Sicily and embarked in HMS Bulwark conducting search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

 Assigned to 369 QHI course at RAF Shawbury in August 2015, he completed the course and graduated in January 2016 before being assigned to 660 Sqn AAC as a QHI.

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