Visit to RAF Stafford MRT

12 Team members travel down to RAF Stafford MRT, for a visit and look at their equipment & vehicles. Extra special thanks must go to RAF Stafford MRT Team Leader Flt Sgt Dave ’Biffa’ Wilcox, who organised the night at RAF Stafford and for service beyond the call of duty, you’ll see why later. Biffa had arranged a video and powerpoint presentation of the history of RAF MRT’s and also various Call Outs they had attended. A tour of the facilities was also given, including the computer incident system, where the computer operator can have instant link to the Rescue Coordination Centre at RAF Kinloss, for info on jobs. They can also get access to the state of SAR helicopters in the UK and also around the UK, it was interesting to see Rescue 177 in Scotland involved in an incident in Fort William and then when refreshed it had been dispatched to a injuried sailor. This also gives all the SAR assets infomation on Police ASU’s and Air Ambulances as well. We then had a video presentation and afterwards moved down to their vehicles, three 110 Landrover Defenders and two Mercedes C3’s [Command, Control & Communication] vehicles. At this point Dave Healey, our Communications Officer, was on cloud nine as we got to see their state of the ark communication gear and also watch as Biifa tried to do a radio check with RAF Kinloss in Scotland on the HF radio.

Team members look at RAF Stafford MRT’s Communication, Control & Command vehicle..

So it was time to go and travel back to Manchester, but we had one problem. The minibus with 7 members on board broke down on arrival at RAF Stafford’s guardhouse, we had to tow it to the MRT compound and Jon Holt, Steve Fletcher & Fred Taylor missed most of the lecture by trying to repair it. Eventually at 23:00 Hrs we gave up and luckily for us Ged Clarke called the AA out. They arrived with a little van, whch really wasnt going to do any good and so hunger and lots of moaning meant we dispatched the Landrover to an all night Asda, its midnight now ! As luck would have it, the tow truck arrived just as the food was being purchased and they hot footed it back to RAF Stafford, so we could all go home, and for some of us that meant getting home at about 2:45 am !! Dave stayed with us through out the wait and made sure we had everything we needed and the guards in the guard house tried to help us with our dietary requests, but most pizza places were now shut.

A Mountain Rescue vehicle being rescued.

So a very fun night was had by all a little tiring for those who had work the next morning. Again, our thanks to Dave & Peter at RAF Stafford MRT for making us feel very welcome and looking after us so well.