Today is a time to look forward

Admiral Sir George Zambellas

This incremental transition programme ensures that the capabilities the Joint Helicopter Command brings to Defence are fully maintained with the uplift of the Chinook, upgrade of the Puma, retirement of the Sea King and marinisation programme for the Merlin progress.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: “Today is a time to look forward.  Not just to the next chapter to be written by the re-formed 846 Naval Air Squadron but also to the ongoing contribution of all Navy and Air Force helicopter forces.  

"And, today, we in the Navy wanted to recognise our partnership with the Air Force, both here at Benson and beyond.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford said “Today we say farewell to No 78 Squadron.  Rather than mourn this occasion, we should use it as an opportunity to celebrate the partnership between our two Services.  

"I have been truly impressed with the manner in which both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have worked together in order to tackle the significant challenge of transition, and I know that we will continue to work equally well together in the future.  

"I offer my congratulation to the personnel of No 78 Squadron for all they have achieved over recent years, and I pass on my best wishes to 846 Naval Air Squadron for the future.”

His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent said: “I am honoured to be here to pay respect to the men and women of 78 Squadron as they formally disband today.  The Squadron has served with courage and fortitude for almost a century; giving so much to our country and society at large.  

"It is only fitting that 78 Squadron’s disbandment is marked by such a stunning ceremonial event, with airmen and officers proudly parading the Squadron standard for the final time before it is retired.  

"I thank each and every one of you for your Service and your sacrifices and I know that you will continue to serve our country in the finest traditions of the Royal Air Force.”