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Gavin Furlong

I am preparing for Christmas Leave!!


How to introduce my self, well many would say I have three things not going for me so let me build the picture for you. I’m vertically challenged being an ickle 5’6, im ginger (a gift) and most hurtful apparently im rats!!  This is all other people’s opinions and as ever I think they are all wrong, well with the rat’s part of it.


My name is Gavin Furlong and I am a Leading Aircrewman (ASW), I have been in the Royal Navy for just over eight years now even though it only seems like yesterday I was stood at the gate of HMS Raleigh.


My career so far has given me the opportunity to see and do many things and as I have recently re-trained as an aircrewman, a new and more exciting chapter has been opened.


Units I have served in:


HMS Raleigh – Three times

HMS Sultan

RNAS Culdrose – Twice

HMS Ark Royal

HMS Cambria


I started my career in Oct 2000 where after being in work for a year after leaving school I really wanted to do something new and challenging so I decided to join the Royal navy.


I joined the Royal Navy as an Aircraft Engineering Mechanic (AEM) which could see me maintaining either fixed or rotary winged aircraft.  Basic training lasted 8 weeks but the structure was slightly different back then compared to now, I had a week in new entry and then the following seven in my respective division.  Basic training for some is hell, some people switch off just to get through it or you get some people that absolutely love it.  I am one of the later, if I had the opportunity to go back and do it now I would.  I know it may sound sadistic but it was great.


On completion of my basic training I then proceeded on draft to HMS Sultan to do my trade training as an AEM.  The training was to last 52 weeks learning everything you needed to progress onto a squadron and begin fine tuning your skills.  I reached week 48 and then started to become distracted because of some personal troubles I was having at home.  I tried to crack in true naval tradition but it got on top of me.  I then made the decision to re-assess my role within the Royal Navy before it was made for me.


After a few discussions with superiors about the way forward for me I decided to go back to HMS Raleigh and train to be a writer (WTR).  This job would consist of maintaining pay accounts with other bookkeeping subsidiary jobs.  For me it sounded good seeing that it would possibly give me skills that would be easy to transfer onto civilian street when I came to leave the service.


My training as a WTR took 15 weeks which was substantially shorter than my previous chosen trade.  It was a completely different world and was challenging mentally which suited me down to the ground.


On completion of my training I was drafted to RNAS Culdrose for my what was known as part 4 training which basically is on the job training fine tuning the skills learnt and to complete a task book.


I then moved around various establishments as a WTR gaining many skills and getting to see loads of different sides to the navy.  A few years on I found myself at HMS Cambria RNR unit in south Wales as the unit WTR.  This was a very good job to have but it was at this point of my career I decided I wanted more out of my job and felt that maybe the logistics branch would not give me what I wanted.


I carefully researched what avenues I could take and the one that stood out to me the most was Aircrewman.  A job where you have multiple skills which may be called upon at a seconds notice and where you have to have the flexibility and mindset to change from a tactical scenario to a search and rescue at the drop of a hat.  This kind of job seemed to be the one for me, so from there I put in my request to branch transfer.


I was accepted for grading which is a two week test of your ability as a potential aircrewman.  It consisted of a lot of numeric tests and practical’s to see if you could cope with the airborne environment.  At the end of the grading if you got that far you would sit an oral board for anything from 15 mins to 30.


If you are successful you are then selected for flying training and only then does your journey start.

I had a wait of 1 year before I was able to start course and with the prospect of an 18 months course ahead it was somewhat daunting.


I progressed through course and had some low aswell as highs as anyone would expect but the day I came to the end of course I was dumbstruck.  I never thought I would get there and it was surreal when I did, it brought everything to light.  All the hard work, stressful nights and running around was all worth it.  To be awarded my coveted flying wings, words cannot describe the sense of pride that flowed through my body.


On completion of course I was then drafted to 814 Squadron.  Literally as soon as I joined I found myself out on operations. I served for two months out in Oman and then returned to the UK to support the squadron in other tasking.


That takes us up to present day, I will stop boring you now and leave you in peace.  I will update as much as possible to let you all know what I have been up to on the front line.

Posts by Gavin Furlong

16th December 2008

Is It Xmas Yet??

7 people rate this

Hi everyone, 

This is my first post so will be short and sweet. I am not really up to much at the moment as we are in our last week before we all go off for christmas leave. I am however expecting my little one to grace us with her presence any time in the next two weeks so it shall be a good christmas. Over the period i will make a couple of posts some of which will be about previous deployments but will hopefully give you a little insight into what i have been up to since leaving 824 Sqn. Anyway i look forward to giving you all an insight into the Aircrewmans world, enjoy!!