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Heron

RNAS Yeovilton

RNAS Yeovilton – also known as HMS Heron – is one of the Navy’s two principal air bases, and one of the busiest military airfields in the UK. It is home to more than 100 aircraft operated both front-line squadrons and training units including all Fleet Air Arm Lynx and the Commando Helicopter Force, plus legendary vintage aircraft of the RN Historic Flight.

RNAS Yeovilton

The base is located near Yeovil in Somerset and covers around 1,400 acres with the main airfield in Yeovilton itself and the satellite at Ilton (Merryfield).

Some 4,300 personnel, Service and civilian, including MoD employees and permanent contractors are employed on the site.

In addition to the squadrons, the air station is home to the Navy’s Fighter Controller School, the School of Aircraft Control, and the Helicopter Underwater Escape Trainer.

In addition, the air station also hosts a large support staff from the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, and the world famous Fleet Air Arm Museum.

COMMANDING OFFICER

Jock Alexander

Jock Alexander
RANK:
Commodore
JOINED:
1977
SPECIALISATION:
Warfare
PREVIOUS UNITS:
820 NAS, 819 NAS, HMS Illustrious,
Military experience

Jock Alexander joined the Royal Navy as a Seaman Officer in 1977 and gained his Bridge Watch-keeping and Ocean Navigation Certificates, whilst serving as the Communications and Diving Officer in HMS Euryalus.

Awarded ‘Wings’ in 1984 at RNAS Culdrose, he completed flying training as a helicopter pilot in 1985 and joined 820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) later that year, first in HMS Invincible and latterly as part of the first Air Group in HMS Ark Royal. He qualified as a Helicopter Warfare Instructor (HWI) at RNAS Yeovilton in 1987 and spent the next two years in 819 NAS at Prestwick as the HWI, conducting Anti Submarine Warfare, Maritime Counter Terrorism and Search & Rescue operations; during this time he was the Duty SAR Pilot for both the Piper Alpha and Lockerbie disasters.

In 1989 he took command of HMS Kellington and spent 2 years conducting Mine-hunting and Fish Protection duties, before returning to flying as Senior Pilot of 820 NAS in 1991.

Post operations in the Adriatic in HMS Ark Royal, he attended the RN Staff College at Greenwich in 1994, gaining an MA in Defence Studies from Kings College, London.

This was followed by a staff appointment in the Resources & Planning team within Fleet HQ, Northwood, which led to a subsequent appointment as CO of 819 NAS. During this period, 819 conducted a plethora of operations, ranging from Intelligence gathering in the South China Sea, to ASW in the Mediterranean and SAR on the West of Scotland; 819 NAS was awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Peace in 1998.

Selected for promotion in 1998, Alexander returned to Northwood in 1999 on the staff of Flag Officer Naval Aviation, as the Staff Operations & Warfare officer, before moving to become Commander (Air) of HMS Illustrious in 2001.

Post 9/11, Illustrious conducted a very short notice conversion into the LPH role and spent the next 8 months in the Indian Ocean supporting UK Special Forces and US Seal Operations against AQ and Taliban forces.

In late 2002, he joined the Fleet Topmast Team studying future manpower requirements for the RN, before re-joining Fleet HQ as the Staff Aviation Officer in 2003. Alexander was then appointed to the MOD in Jan 2005, where he sat on the Afghanistan Operations Desk in the Directorate of Joint Commitments until Oct 2007.

Promoted to Captain in 2007 Alexander then moved to command the UK/US Navy & Marines Training Team in Basra Province, Iraq for a 6 month Operational Tour until Jun 2008; this coincided with Op Charge of the Knights for control of Basra Province in Apr 08 and he was awarded the US Bronze Star on completion.

He was appointed to Navy Command HQ where he served until Feb 2011 as DACOS Carrier Strike, responsible for the current and future Carrier Programmes from the operational (User) perspective; he was awarded the OBE in the 2011 New Years Honours list. A tour back in MOD followed, where Alexander served in a newly established post as the Assistant Director, Carrier Strike and Aviation on the Naval Staff.

He was promoted to Commodore in this appointment and is now the Commanding Officer, RNAS Yeovilton.

Commodore Alexander has two young daughters and is a keen sportsman and has represented the Royal Navy at Alpine Skiing and RN & RM Scotland at Rugby.


Yeovilton Events

26 July

Yeovilton Airday 2014
RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, BA22 8HT 26 July 2014

 

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