The Royal Air Force RegimentSusannah Walbank
The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF) is the ground fighting force for the Royal Air Force and provides a range of force protection. The Royal Air Force Regiment functions as a specialist airfield defence corps and was founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. The regiment’s members are known within the RAF by a number of names: ‘The Regiment’, ‘Rock Apes’ and ‘Rocks’.
The regiment trains in CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defence. They are equipped with advanced vehicles and detection methods. Each member undertakes a 32-week gunner course and is trained to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance, minimise the damage caused by a successful attack, and ensure that air operations can continue without delay in the aftermath of an attack.
The regiment was formed in 1942 and had 66,000 personnel drawn in from the former Defence Squadrons No.’s 701-850. The role of the new regiment was to seize, secure and defend airfields to enable air operations to take place. The regiment was made up of both field squadrons and light anti-aircraft squadrons.
The Royal Air Force Regiment is under command of the 2 Group, Air Command. There are eight regular squadrons within the regiment: Nos 1, 2, 15, 26, 27, 34, 51 and 63 Queen’s colour Squadron. The Field Squadrons are divided into flights which are a similar size to an army platoon. Each field squadron has rifle flights who are to engage enemy at close range, and a support weapons flight, which provides fire support to her rifle flights using machine guns, mortars and snipers.
The RAF regiment became the first branch of the British Armed Forces to allow women into all of its roles.
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