Trust Gets Op SHADER Connected
Published: 04 Jan 2016 updated: 12 Apr 2016
The RAF Charitable Trust understands the importance of keeping deployed personnel connected with their loved ones and just before Christmas provided 903 Expeditionary Air Wing with the means to get connected through a Broadband in a Box 3G Wi-Fi system.
The boxes, no bigger than a tin of coffee, allow up to 10 people to connect at one time; ideal for the 4-man rooms in the blocks at RAF Akrotiri. The 3G speeds are comparable to speeds in the UK, thanks to the recent local network upgrades, and the troops were able to FaceTime or Skype loved ones back at home on Christmas Day.
The emotions were palpable; Sqn Ldr Gaz, Chief of Staff (Support) for the Wing said; "Being able to see our friends and family at Christmas makes it almost feel like we are there and lessens the sting of being away at this time. We can't thank the RAF Charitable Trust enough for their support through 2015, with all they have done for us. This has just been the icing on the cake. It was a wonderful Christmas present for our deployed personnel.
"Being deployed away from home is a normal part of life for people in today's Royal Air Force, doing your bit for Queen and Country. Fortunately priorities have changed here for people deployed away on Operation SHADER; when providing welfare for our people it is no longer water, food or shelter, but Wi-Fi that we have to consider. The 21st century fighting force wants to be connected to the world wide web to help make the world feeler smaller and to make them feel more at home. Being able to speak to home regularly makes loved ones back at home feel safe and helps to reduce stress on the front line."
Op SHADER, which was launched in 2014 to counter the growing threat to Middle East stability posed by Da'esh forces (formerly Islamic State, ISIL or ISIS), continues on into 2016 with more than 600 personnel deployed to RAF Akrotiri in support of the mission in Iraq and Syria. In 2015 the Trust also provided 60 mountain bikes, several fridges, outdoor furniture and entertainment systems for the personnel of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.