Bury St Edmunds: RAF Tornado navigator helps troops avoid ambush in Afghanistan

AN RAF navigator from Suffolk currently serving in Afghanistan has been instrumental in preventing an ambush on British troops.

Flight Lieutenant Thomas (Thom) Dean, who is from Bury St Edmunds, was on one of his regular missions in a Tornado GR4 providing watch for forces patrolling on the ground in Helmand Province.

It was on one of these missions when the 31-year-old saw that the patrol was about to reach a potential ambush point on its route.

Flt Lt Dean, a former pupil of King Edward VI School whose home base is RAF Marham, said: “I was certain that something wasn’t quite right near to a busy village on the ground. The patrol would have reached a choke point and it didn’t seem a safe place for them to pass. So the pilot and I decided to monitor that area from above for a while.”

After carrying out surveillance he was able to identify a possible insurgent ambush on the patrol.

“I found a safer route for the patrol to take, which would have kept them safe from the area.”

The Tornado GR4s of II (Army Cooperation) Squadron are based at Kandahar Airfield.

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They are working to provide reconnaissance support to International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) on the ground working with a variety of nationalities all supporting the ANSF in their work, providing a safe place for Afghans to live.

He will be returning home to Bury this month to his wife Sally and greyhound Maisy.

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