Queen presents CBE to Group Captain Laird

Date: 10/11 August 2010''Location: Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan''Originator: Squadron Leader N J Clayton, Joint Media Operations Centre.''Caption: The Rt Honourable Dr Liam Fox MP vists Camp Bastion, Afghanistan on the 10 and 11th August 2010. The British Secretary of State for Defence recieved a tour of the ISAF Base visiting Joint Helicopter Force where he was met by Grp Capt Laid. He was briefed on capabilities and met some of the aircrew and support staff from the joint services unit including the Army Air Corps Lynx 9A, the Royal Navy Sea King and RAF Merlin.  The Defence Secretary also visited Equipment Support Batttalion, was shown the Mastiff and Ridgeback vehicles and how its impressive capabilities can save lives withstand large explosions from IEDs. The following day Dr Fox was met by General R.P Mills, Commander Regional Command Southwest and discussed the latest issues and future projects.'Dr Fox met many military personnel during his visit discussing any concerns they have and than
Date: 10/11 August 2010''Location: Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan''Originator: Squadron Leader N J Clayton, Joint Media Operations Centre.''Caption: The Rt Honourable Dr Liam Fox MP vists Camp Bastion, Afghanistan on the 10 and 11th August 2010. The British Secretary of State for Defence recieved a tour of the ISAF Base visiting Joint Helicopter Force where he was met by Grp Capt Laid. He was briefed on capabilities and met some of the aircrew and support staff from the joint services unit including the Army Air Corps Lynx 9A, the Royal Navy Sea King and RAF Merlin. The Defence Secretary also visited Equipment Support Batttalion, was shown the Mastiff and Ridgeback vehicles and how its impressive capabilities can save lives withstand large explosions from IEDs. The following day Dr Fox was met by General R.P Mills, Commander Regional Command Southwest and discussed the latest issues and future projects.'Dr Fox met many military personnel during his visit discussing any concerns they have and than

RAF Group Captain Neil Laird, a former pupil of Forfar Academy, has attended a ceremony at Windsor Castle where he received his Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) from the Queen.

Group Captain Laird, known as Nick, was accompanied by his wife, Donna-Louise, his daughter Helen and his parents Ivan and Beth from Justinhaugh, on the outskirts of Forfar.

The former pupil of Wellbrae Primary School, who was also an active member of Tannadice Scouts, was honoured for a history-making leadership role in Afghanistan.

He has done two front line tours in the war-torn nation. In the latest, from April to September 2010, he became the first senior officer to conduct combined UK/US aviation operations over a long period. His success saw him receive the CBE with just two other recipients.

Group Captain Laird was deployed to Afghanistan as Commander Joint Aviation Group (COMJAG), with 40 aircraft of six different types and from five forces.

They supported UK units engaged in highly kinetic operations and he oversaw complete integration with the US Marine Wing while protecting and enhancing UK equity.

His CBE citation recognised his “excellence as a commander, aviator and diplomat.”

Group Captain Laird has also served in Iraq and Northern Ireland. His RAF career also included command of 230 Squadron at Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. During that posting he made a special return to his alma mater when he landed an RAF Puma helicopter on the Academy playing fields.

During his visit pupils were treated to a flight over the town. He made a return visit in 2006 to present the awards at the school’s prize-giving.