December 14, 2018 (by Asif Shamim) - On 12 December 2018, No. 47 Squadron held an informal ceremony to mark the end of their successful pilot exchange post with 15th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) and to begin their pilot exchange with 9th SOS.
Lieutenant Colonel Mascato with Wing Commander Andy Johnson seen during the flag exchange ceremony on December 12, 2018 at RAF Brize Norton. [RAF, ©UK Crown Copyright]
The relationship with 15th SOS, based in Florida, began 22 years ago which gave both Squadrons the opportunity to share best practices and develop relationships between the air forces. Each tour would last around three-four years where the pilots would fully integrate into the Squadron.
Due to the difference between 47 Squadron’s C-130J Hercules and 15th SOS’s MC-130 Talon it has not been possible to continue the exchange post but 9th SOS were able to take over the programme. During the ceremony flags were exchanged between the three Squadrons.
“I am returning the Union flag which is the one originally given signifying 22 years of friendship. We hope to maintain the connection between the units.” said Lieutenant Colonel Mascato, Officer Commanding 15th SOS.
“We have a strong relationship with 15th SOS and we have a mutual professional respect as we both do a challenging job. These exchanges are about sharing ideas and I am delighted to be able to continue the exchange with 9th SOS. The exchange tour is not just about the exchange but also about the relationship.” said Wing Commander Andy Johnson, Officer Commanding No. 47 Squadron.