THE last station commander of RAF Cottesmore has been awarded a CBE in the Operational Honours list.
Air Commodore Gary Waterfall from Stamford led the final Harrier 16 aircraft sortie on December 15, 2010, formally retiring the iconic aircraft from UK service.
He remained in command of RAF Cottesmore until its formal closure in March last year.
He is still the president of 2248 (Rutland) Air Training Corps, and Chairman of the Harrier Force Association.
The Operational Honours list recognises service on operations in Afghanistan and national operations for the period April 1, 2011, to September 30, 2011.
In June 2011, and on promotion to Air Commodore, he deployed to NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre 5 to assume command of the UK air contribution to the liberation of Libya.
The CBE citation states: “Despite the conflicting demands placed upon him and the complexities of what he faced, Waterfall performed to the very highest of standards at all times, leading those under his command with a powerful and effective mixture of insight, decisiveness and moral courage.
“Waterfall was faced daily with legal and ethical considerations which were truly without precedent but he was never found wanting. Waterfall’s leadership of the UK Air Assets was exceptional, despite aircraft being deployed in four disparate geographical locations and operating in conditions that were extremely demanding due to the operational tempo and logistical challenges.
“Waterfall succeeded in leading his units with care and compassion during a period of great uncertainty, ensuring that morale did not suffer during this difficult time and that the units under his command maintained their sense of purpose throughout.”
His current appointment is Air Officer Combat ISTAR, Headquarters No 1 Group.