An Oxfordshire airbase has been awarded a prestigious award for its standout performance in 2016.
The Stainforth Trophy was presented to RAF Benson by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, in a special honours and awards ceremony last week.
The accolade is awarded annually to the station deemed to have contributed the most to the delivery of air power, while maintaining a high level of community engagement, honouring and protecting heritage, charitable fundraising and sporting activity.
Stations have to submit a report detailing their activities for the previous year through the chain of command, where it is subject to rigorous scrutiny.
Last year RAF Benson was heavily committed to operations and exercises across the world, including the ongoing Puma deployment in Afghanistan.
Several squadrons marked significant anniversaries with parades, while numerous personnel were commended for their personal and professional achievements.
Community engagement continued throughout the year with many well-received events and activities, such as the refurbishment of the war memorial at Berinsfield and Armed Forces Week, where a Chinook visited Wallingford.
The Puma Force also delivered Santa to the John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital with gifts.
Speaking at the base, the Air Chief Marshal, who also presented medals and commendations to personnel in recognition of their individual achievements, said: “It is a real pleasure and privilege for me to be here to make sure we properly recognise some fantastic achievements.
“The Stainforth Trophy is a combination of the awards presented today and the achievements of RAF Benson as a whole, at home and overseas. My congratulations to the whole station.”
On receiving the award, Group Captain Hamish Cormack, station commander of RAF Benson, said: “It is a genuine honour to command RAF Benson and I am truly delighted the quiet professionalism consistently shown by the men and women here has been recognised by this award.
“The Benson team can feel justifiably proud of the part they have played, and continue to play, in our many achievements.”