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Operational honour to Surgeon Commander

25 October 2016
Surgeon Commander Royal Navy from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton has been awarded an OBE as the leader of the medical team dealing with migrant activity in the Agean Sea between November 2015 and January 2016.

Leading the medical team on-board MV VOS Grace on operational support of the United Kingdom Border Force Commander (Cdr) Matthew Turner from East Lambrook demonstrated leadership and professionalism of the highest order, in isolation and in an  extremely challenging environment under very difficult circumstances.

His fortitude in the face of a terrible humanitarian disaster has been acknowledged as exemplary.

Cdr Turner said; “I am absolutely amazed and humbled to have been awarded an OBE. 

In 21 years as a Doctor and 12 as a Royal Naval Medical Officer, this was the single biggest challenge I have had to face, but with the amazing support of my fellow medics and Royal Marines, we managed to achieve an incredible result.

Commander Matthew Turner RN

“In 21 years as a Doctor and 12 as a Royal Naval Medical Officer, this was the single biggest challenge I have had to face, but with the amazing support of my fellow medics and Royal Marines, we managed to achieve an incredible result.

“With my small team, we managed to help over 5000 migrants, including several who were critically ill. 

“This honour represents the work of the entire team, and also the huge support from all our friends and family who kept us going through the difficult times whilst deployed.”

Cdr Turner despite being deployed in an unfamiliar vessel, limited resource helped and supported his team as they dealt with an enormous influx of casualties with a vast array of diseases displaying outstanding compassion and sensitivity.

The day job for Cdr Turner is at RNAS Yeovilton as their Principal Medical Officer making sure over 2000 military personnel are ‘fit to fight’ and when he’s not in RNAS Yeoviltons Medical Centre Cdr Turner added; “Out of work, I am kept fully busy with a small menagerie of animals, 6 dogs, 2 cats, 2 pigs, 17 ducks and a rabbit.

“I love living in Somerset, and especially at this time of year, surrounded by cider orchards!”

Cdr Turners has operated with courage and determination and has brought great credit to the Royal Navy in the finest traditions of our Service.

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