Foreword | 5

FOREWORD by Air Vice-Marshal Mike Wigston | Assistant Chief of Air Staff Tisyear the RoyalAir Force will celebrateits Centenary; amajor

milestone for the world’sfirstindependent air force. The last 100 years have taken us from the early days of flight, through years of dedicated service, to the present day where our Servicemen and women now form part of amodern air force leading the delivery and development of air and space power.The RAF100 celebrations will see awide-ranging programme of events across the UK and globally, as the RAF family is joined by the public in marking 100 years of excellence.

An important part of RAF100 will be commemorating those who have helped to build the Royal Air Force into the world-class Service it is today.From the earliest pioneers of British aviation and those first to serve in the Royal Air Force during the First World War, through to our most recent veterans, RAF100 gives us the opportunity to reflect on the proud history of the Service, the important milestones, achievements and legacy of our first 100 years.

As well as our history,wewill celebrate the important role we continue to play.Today the Royal Air Force is heavily committed on operations with our people deployed across the world, working to defend the UK’s interests whether that be striking at the heart of Daesh and other violent extremist organisations or providing humanitarian relief to those devastated by natural disaster in the Caribbean. Closer to home, the Royal Air Force continues to defend the UK’s airspace 24/7, 365 days ayear.People should feel proud and inspired by what the RAF is and does today, an organisation that is innovative and forward thinking, and on the threshold of its second century.

The centrepiece Centenary events will begin with an opening gala at the Royal Albert Hall on the 31 March, followed the next day by the Founders Day Service at St Clement Danes and the launch of the RAF100 Baton Relay.The Baton Relay will travel around the UK and to some overseas destinations, visiting sites that have been and continue to be significant to the Royal Air Force. The relay will finish 100 days later,on10July, the pinnacle of our Centenary celebrations which

include aservice at Westminster Abbey,aparade down the Mall and aspectacular flypast. There are other events throughout the year across the United Kingdom including atour of historic and current aircraft on static display at the heart of our major cities.

RAF100 will be about much more than commemorating our glorious past and celebrating what we do for the nation today.Aswelook to the future, RAF100 offers us the chance to inspire anew generation about the opportunities offered by careers linked to STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics). RAF100 provides the Royal Air Force with aonce in ageneration opportunity to showcase the diversity of roles and, more importantly, the people that contribute to the modern air force, whether that be through wearing auniform or supporting our Service as acivil servant, contractor, industry specialist or part of the wider RAF Family.

With the RAF Family in mind Iwould also like to encourage you to make use of your RAF Families Federation. They have indeed just celebrated their 10th birthday and we are lucky to have an organisation that acts as an independent voice for us all. By engaging with them and sharing your views and concerns, your input will help influence policy change for you, as well as the next generation of RAF personnel.

To finish, and wherever you are during RAF100, we would like to invite you to join with us celebrating 100 years of courage, service and excellence, and help us look towards the future and our next 100 years. |Spring 2018 | ENVOY

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