A SOUTH Tyneside Royal Air Force officer has been awarded for her expertise and commitment.
Flight Lieutenant Sophie Atkinson received a prestigious commendation at a ceremony in the Officers’ Mess at RAF Boulmer.
The award recognised her expertise, dedication and unswerving commitment to duty.
As an Aerospace Battle Manager, Sophie, 27, led a small team selected for their specialist knowledge and used her considerable experience to provide expert advice on air surveillance to senior officers in the Joint Force Air Component Headquarters at RAF High Wycombe during Operation LUMINOUS in Cyprus last year.
Sophie’s parents Malcolm and Joan, a local councillor for the Cleadon and East Boldon ward, attended the special ceremony.
Malcolm said: “We are absolutely delighted to see Sophie receive an award for her dedication to the RAF and its tasks at home and abroad.
“She has always given her all to everything she sets out to achieve, including during her time in the RAF, and we are immensely proud of her and of her serving in the Armed Forces”
Sophie attended King’s School in Tynemouth, during which time she was also an Air Cadet at 324 (South Shields) Squadron, something she is keen to encourage all young people to consider.
She joined the RAF in 2008 after graduating from Loughborough University. Currently posted at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, she works as an Aerospace Battle Manager as part of the UK and NATO’s Air Defence Network.
She is a qualified instructor and teaches tactical air battle management to junior operators and to wider audiences across the RAF and also the Army and Royal Navy.
Sophie has also completed several tours of the Falkland Islands and was until earlier this year based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire with Number 1 Air Control Centre, the RAF’s only mobile radar and Command and Control facility which can be sent anywhere in the world at short notice.