A Suffolk based army officer's getting the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for his leadership and bravery. 38-year-old Major Mike Neville was the Officer Commanding 656 Squadron, of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps.
He commanded Apache attack helicopter missions over Libya and is being commended for leadership and bravery during the mission. The squadron had been on HMS Ocean in the Mediterranean learning how to operate the Apache off Royal Navy ships when they were re-tasked to take part inoperations over Libya.
Apache fly slower and lower than any UK aircraft used in theatre, and are often flown within two-kilometres of the enemy.
Despite the risk, Major Neville commanded his aircrews to attack enemy forces armed with more than 20,000 missiles and 1,000 anti-aircraft artillery weapons.
On twenty-two missions the Apaches commanded by Mike hit more than 100 targets. Mike flew on ten of these operations, and his Apache was routinely targeted by small arms fire and missiles.
The Ministry of Defence says the threat to Major Neville and his Wattisham based crew was unprecedented.