Gary plays key role in Libyan operation

Senior Aircraftsman Gary Cocklin
Senior Aircraftsman Gary Cocklin

A SERVICEMAN from Eastbourne is currently playing a key role in supporting British operations over Libya.

Senior Aircraftsman Gary Cocklin, 23, part of the Royal Air Force’s Tactical Communications Wing (TCW), is responsible for providing communication systems from Gioia Del Colle in Italy back to the UK and around the world.

The Royal Air Force’s Tornado and Typhoon aircraft are currently based at Gioia Del Colle as a key part of the UK contribution to enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which aims to protect Libyan civilians from the Gaddafi regime.

In the NATO-led multi-national operation, clear communications are vital and that is where Gary comes in.

The former Willingdon School pupil said, “Our presence here is imperative for the safety of the Libyan civilians, without communications in the early stages no aircraft could have flown.”

Telephone and data communications are at the centre of his job.

The situation in Libya changes from hour to hour so timely and efficient communications are essential. Personnel from the TCW deployed with short notice whilst on a training exercise, arriving in Italy and setting up within 24 hours.

The Royal Air Force TCW takes only hours to achieve what might take your telephone company a number of weeks.

Gary said, “Working in the Royal Air Force, particularly on this operation, has given me some invaluable experience.

“Our continual training at home goes a great deal towards the success of the quick set up of communications here.”