An alert RAF gunner has been commended by both United States and UK commanders for his part in the discovery of three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the break-up of an insurgent cell in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Mark Marvin, who serves with 51 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, was manning a watchtower at Camp Bastion when his attention was drawn to a motorbike that stopped twice along its route.
LCpl Marvin said: “Motorbikes don’t usually stop there and it looked like someone was digging on the other side of it so I sent a report.”
His action led to the motorbike being tracked to a nearby compound where gunners from 58 Squadron RAF Regiment located several suspects with explosive residue on their hands. Two were detained and subsequently three IEDs that had already been planted were recovered.
LCpl Marvin received a visit at his watchtower shortly after by Major General Scott Miller who handed over a commendation for the contribution he had made in saving US lives.
LCpl Marvin said: “I didn’t really expect anything – I was doing the job that I was supposed to do.
“The lads are pleased for me and I suppose it’s good for the squadron that I received the commendation.”
Before 51 Squadron finally departed Afghanistan for their trip home to Moray, the Lance Corporal received a second commendation – this time from Air Commodore Al Gillespie, the Component Commander of 83 Expeditionary Air Group.
The RAF Regiment’s 51 and 58 squadrons were part of 5 Force Expeditionary Wing, providing security at Bastion Airfield which is run by 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.
Commander of 5 Force Protection Wing, Wing Commander Piers Holland, added his praise and congratulations to the action taken by LCpl Marvin. He said: “We did our job, we did it well and we did it with pride.
“We maintained a secure and undisrupted perimeter and maintained on-base security. And, importantly, we brought everybody home. We also ensured the safety of all fixed-wing aircraft operating to and from Bastion Airfield and had no ground-to-air attacks against them.”