Gary flying high with top honour

Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson (right) receives the Chief of the Air Staff's Commendation from Air Chief Marshall Sir Andrew Pulford. Picture by SAC Tim Laurence/RAF Photographer.

Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson (right) receives the Chief of the Air Staff's Commendation from Air Chief Marshall Sir Andrew Pulford. Picture by SAC Tim Laurence/RAF Photographer.

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A RAF officer has received the highest Royal Air Force accolade in recognition of outstanding services.

Volunteer reservist, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, officer commanding 2344 (Longbenton) Air Cadet Squadron, was presented with the Chief of the Air Staff Commendation.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Andrew Pulford, said: “It is pleasing to see the volunteer reserves being recognised at this level and the commendation recognises the exceptional service personnel have given to the Royal Air Force.”

Gary’s citation read: “He regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide the highest standard of training and widest range of activities for all cadets under his command.”

Gary has led the Squadron to be recognised as the Top Air Cadet Squadron in the UK, and the unit is soon to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough.

Gary said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony with my family at RAF Northolt and it was humbling to receive the Commendation alongside some incredible colleagues.

“It’s a real privilege to command Longbenton Squadron and work with such an inspirational group of young people and volunteer instructors; they are the Squadron’s real assets and the CAS Commendation reflects that.”

The CAS Commendation is the highest accolade awarded in the RAF with recipients being announced in the Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honour lists.