SQUADRON LEADER JERRY NEILD
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Squadron Leader Jerry Neild is the Royal Air Force Commander, RAF Lakenheath. He is Head of Establishment for over 600 British civilian personnel who support operations at RAF Lakenheath and serves as an adviser to the 48th Fighter Wing Commander, US Air Force, on all matters concerning the Royal Air Force, the Ministry of Defence and UK Government Defence policies. Responsible for all land assets and UK Government interest on the base, he is also the interface between British citizens and Base officials.
Squadron Leader Neild joined the RAF in 1975 as an Officer Cadet prior to commencing Navigator training at No. 6 Flying Training School at RAF Finningley. In 1977 he changed vocation and became a member of the Administration (Secretarial) Branch. After a short spell as the Station Accountant at RAF Hereford, he was posted to Germany to become the first Squadron Intelligence Officer with No XV Squadron - equipped with the Buccaneer aircraft and assigned to NATO with a Strike role. On leaving the Squadron in August 1981 he had a brief interlude serving in Northern Ireland in the Fall of 1981 before being posted to RAF Stanmore Park where, among other roles, he was responsible for the site security of both Stanmore Park and RAF Bentley Priory.
Promoted to Flight Lieutenant, this tour was then followed by an infrastructure post at RAF Digby before being appointed Apprentice Flight Commander at RAF Halton. A staunch believer in the benefits of such apprenticeships (he was responsible for 120 apprentices) he was also called upon to raise 2 ceremonial goats and be in charge of security of the camp and Halton House (an old Rothschild mansion) post the IRA bombing at Brighton. Tours as the Officer Commanding (OC) Personal Services Flight at RAF Staxton Wold and the OC Plymouth RAF Careers Information Office followed. It was during the latter tour that he was unexpectedly deployed to Saudi Arabia in October 1990 to the RAF Air Headquarters collocated with the Royal Saudi Air Force HQ in Riyadh. Here he served during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as the Staff Officer Administration and in-theatre expert on the Operational Manpower Information System and Casualty reporting for the RAF.
Returning from Gulf War I, he continued in the recruiting world for only a few months before being posted to become the Civilian Tasking Officer, RAF Thatcham. Promotion to squadron leader followed and in 1994 became the Executive Officer for International Protocol at HQ SHAPE at Mons, Belgium - gaining an insight into the differences that can exist between the American and European cultures. After 3 years at SHAPE, he returned to the UK after a 4 month detachment with the RAF at Al Kharj in Saudi Arabia as part of the 5,100 strong coalition force based in the tented camp there (US, UK, France) involved in Operation Southern Watch. As the OC Personnel Management Squadron at RAF Cottesmore he was the Human Resources specialist for the 2,000 strong unit and responsible for the personnel aspects including during the historical re-role of the Station from a training Base (Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment) to becoming the operational home of the Harrier aircraft.
Early in 2000, he was appointed the Area Commander for RAF Recruiting in London and the South East of England. During this tour he was again deployed but for short periods, this time on Media Operations, once on HMS Invincible during the latter stages of the Balkans crisis and once to Saudi Arabia with Joint Task Force South West Asia. In 2002, the relationship with Saudi Arabia was cemented further when he was posted as the OC Administration Squadron with the UK Ministry of Defence Saudi Arabia Project Team based in Riyadh serving there for 3½ years with his work focused on security issues during a difficult period with terrorism a continual threat. During this period significant relationships were made with many diplomatic and security staffs most notably US, Canadian and Australian. A 22-month tour as a Desk Officer with the Service Personnel Policy Staffs in the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London specialising on accommodation and Service Community Support issues followed.
In Sept. 2007, Squadron Leader Neild was appointed as the RAF Commander at RAF Lakenheath.
General Service Medal - Northern Ireland and Air Operations Iraq
Gulf War - Liberation of Kuwait (With Rosette)
Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee
(Current as of August 2007)