NEW BOSS FOR MERLIN TRAINING SQUADRON
It’s all change at the top for 824 Naval Air Squadron as the RNAS Culdrose Merlin Helicopter Training Unit receives a new Commanding Officer.
Returning to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, from an appointment at Naval Command Headquarters in Portsmouth, Commander Ian Fraser takes over from Commander Steve Thomas, who moves to the Middle East for an operational tour of duty.
Commander Fraser joined Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth in 1991 as direct entry aircrew and was awarded his pilot Wings in 1994. On completion of an Anti-Submarine Warfare course on Sea King, he joined the Frontline with 820 NAS in 1996, where he saw deployments to the USA, Far East and Australia, as well as contingency operations in the Gulf. Sub-specialising in Search and Rescue followed with tours on 819 NAS at Prestwick in Scotland and 771 NAS back at Culdrose.
Ian converted onto Merlin in 2002 and was selected for Qualified Helicopter Instructor (QHI) training, where he completed instructional tours at RAF Shawbury, in Shropshire, flying the Squirrel and with 824 NAS flying Merlin Mk1. He returned to the Frontline once again with an appointment as Training Officer of 814 NAS, where he deployed in support of naval operations in the Middle East. A tour with Naval Flying Standards Flight (Trappers) providing oversight and assurance of aviation standards and practices, preceded selection in 2011 for an executive assignment as the Senior Pilot with 824 NAS, where he saw in the introduction of Merlin Mk2.
More recently, Cdr Fraser has completed a staff assignment within Navy Command Headquarters working within the personnel area as the Maritime Pilot Career Manager. Selected for promotion and command in 2015, Ian assumed Command of 824 Naval Air Squadron over the summer of 2016.
“I am incredibly proud to have taken command of 824 Naval Air Squadron,” said Cdr Fraser. “This will be my third time serving on the squadron, and it’s never been busier or bigger. It’s a real honour to be back leading such a fine group of professional men and women as we continue to train aircrew and engineers to man the Merlin Helicopter Force into the future.”
Fraser lives in the Falmouth area with his partner Tamsin and their two children. He enjoys participating in most outdoor activities but has a particular interest in sailing and skiing.