Service members with the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and U.S. Marines celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RAF aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, March 23.
The celebration was held at the Officer’s Club aboard the air station. The leadership of Marine Aircraft Group 31, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, UK 617 Squadron and UK 207 Squadron were all in attendance of the celebration.
“Friday night we were honored to celebrated the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Airforce and the 75th anniversary of the forming of the Dambusters,” said Jamie, a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. “VMFAT-501 had been so welcoming to us and letting us attend their mess events. This was an amazing opportunity to invite them to one of ours and help us celebrate this historic time for the RAF.”
During the mess night, the guests heard from decedents of the first members of 617 Squadron and Air Vice Marshal Gerry Mayhew, the commanding officer of No. 1 Group, RAF.
“Our mess night was very pleasant, from the lovely staff at the Officer’s Club to the string quartet which played for us throughout the night,” said Jamie. “Even though the actual anniversary of the RAF’s formation is April 1, different RAF units will be celebrating throughout the entire year. For example, there will be a large-scale fly-over in London in July. This fly-over will be made of fixed wing aircraft from the first years of the RAF’s formation to the newest aircraft the RAF have to offer as well as several types of helicopters.”
Since its inception in 1943, 617 Squadron has owned unique mission sets and brings new capabilities to the RAF. Going into its 75th year, the Dambusters are continuing its tradition of introducing new technology and preparing the RAF for today’s conflicts.
“When the Dambusters first stood up 75-years ago, its mission was just that: to destroy German dams in World War II,” said Jamie. “617 Squadron was a one of a kind squadron that had to bring new technology and tactics to the fight to accomplish its mission. Being a pilot in this squadron 75-years later, I am honored to continue that tradition. The Dambusters will be the first operational F-35B Lightning II squadron in the UK. Once again bringing that new technology and capabilities to the RAF and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that.”