Foreword | 5

FOREWORD by Air Marshal Stuart Atha CB DSO MA BSC RAF

Iamgrateful to have this opportunitytosay aheartfelt thank youtothe ‘RAF Family’ for their love and supportinwhatare extremelybusytimesfor the RAF. As the DeputyCommander responsible for operations, Iamveryaware thatinterms of scale, duration and intensity, our current operational demand is as greatasithas been for ageneration.

This is asymptom of success and reflects the fact we are valued and relevant to the needs of our country.Inthe last year alone we conducted strikes against Syrian chemical weapon facilities, degraded Daesh in the Middle East, delivered humanitarian relief to the hurricane affected areas of the Caribbean and so much more. There is nothing to suggest this level of operational activity will reduce as we move into our second century.

In the previous edition, Mike Wigston described plans to mark RAF100. Like any notable anniversary it is agreat opportunity to commemorate our past, celebrate the present and look to the future with optimism and confidence. Whilst the next generation Air Force will be equipped with world-class aircraft like the Poseidon P8, Protector and F35, this will be for nothing without the men and women to fly, fix and support air operations, or the support of their families. If there is one thing Ihave learned in my 34 years of service, it is that, no matter what rank you are or what job you do, we could not achieve half of what we do if it were not for the love and support of our families. But Iknow this love and support does not come without sacrifice and compromise.

Each of us has aset of personal circumstances as individual as our fingerprints, which requires us to make judgments on arange of issues such as the balance to be struck between career and family.Mywife Caroline and I, like many couples,

have had to make compromises in our individual careers to provide our five children with what we judged to be the best environment in which to grow up. Recognising there is avery good chance Caroline reads this, Ishould add that she is the one who made the greater compromise when it came to our respective careers.

While the choices we make are personal, most of the issues we grapple with are common, which is why the expert advice and guidance provided by the RAF Families Federation is so important. Not only do they provide insights on arange of issues like careers, childcare and accommodation, they also have aloud, independent and influential voice to which Ministers and military leaders alike listen. The RAF will only continue to be successful in the future if we focus on our people and look after the needs of our families. Iam grateful, therefore, to our families (including my own) for their love and support, and to the RAF Families Federation for their highly valued advice and advocacy. |Summer 2018 | ENVOY

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