Wing Commander Stuart Iles RAF VR(T) formally assumed command of the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing during a handover ceremony which was held on the deck of the Destroyer HMS Bristol .
The momentous handover of command to Wg Cdr Stuart Iles by the outgoing Wg Cdr Pravin Ladwa after 9 years in the post was witnessed by Cadets and Staff from 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron and members of other units from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing who were visiting the Royal Naval Base at Whale Island Portsmouth.
During the short ceremony Wg Cdr Pravin Ladwa signified the change of command of the wing by handing over the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing Banner to Wg Cdr Stuart Iles. Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats then presented the outgoing Wg Cdr Pravin Ladwa with a framed Wing Commanders pennant as a farewell gift from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing.
Having relinquished command of the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing, Wg Cdr Pravin Ladwa will be concentrating his time on his new role as Central & East Regional Training Officer.
The outgoing Wing Commander, Pravin Ladwa, said, “This is a very emotional time for me. When you have spent 46 years (Man & Boy) in the same wing it's not easy to be moving on. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Cadets and Staff who have made me so proud to lead the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing in the 9 years that I have been in command. This wonderful organisation has given me a lot and I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for the Air Cadet Organisation”.
”Can I also for the record say a very big thank you to the late Wg Cdr George Hanson who was my mentor throughout my career within the ACO as a Cadet and Adult”.
”Finally, can I thank all Staff and Cadets and in particular Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats, Camp Commandant of this my 74 th annual camp and the last one as Officer Commanding Wing, for making me so welcome and giving me the best send off on this very special occasion and thank you all so much for a wonderful present, which I will cherish, for the rest of my life”.
The Incoming Wing Commander, Stuart Iles, said, “Most, if not all of you knew me as the Wing Adventure Training Technical Officer (WATTO) – dealing with BELA, DofE and First Aid, which I thought was a challenge, but the privilege which I have been handed today also comes as the biggest challenge I have ever faced. My cadet life started at 489 Squadron, then as a Civilian Instructor, Adult Warrant Officer and Pilot Officer, before departing to take command of 492 Squadron and then onto Wing as a Wing Staff Officer”.
“The road ahead is hard, ‘we have to do more with less now', the decisions I make will be in the best interests of this Wing and I hope you will support me through this changing period in our cadet life”.
“I would like to thank all of you here today for making this such a special occasion and I would also like to send a big thank you to all those who rang me, emailed me and texted me messages of congratulations when it was confirmed I was the new Officer Commanding Wing. It was a shock, and the messages of support were greatly appreciated.”
“Finally, I would like to say how much I am looking forward to working with you all as Officer Commanding Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing.”
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