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RAF CompA ??

Old 10th Mar 2008, 14:34
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: depends what day
Posts: 34
Absolutely, 1st class system that should not be messed with.

for those who have been involved in the categorisation, lets hear the funnies....

"young man in MPA who's grandmother was at death's door and who he wanted to see before the inevitable"

a few phone calls later and discovered granny had died on a number of occasions whilst young man was serving in not so popular locations!!!


"married man in Gioia who's wife was having pregnancy problems which required his immediate return to sleaford"

a few phone calls later and discovered wife was sitting at home watching tv in perth and girlfriend was missing said individual in sleaford.

don't they think we might check before putting the world on hold for them......

please note that I am not knocking what is a fantastic system but just illustrating the humourous side to categorisation.
mckelvey is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2008, 23:10
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: house
Age: 54
Posts: 92
why why why!

Spent a lot of years flying comp A, not regretted one min of it ( including the fart o clock phone call) take that away and "manage it with targets etc etc" and we have really lost it.The VERY min we can do for our people is pull finger when one of their own is on last legs. Over all cost= god knows. Time spent doing it PRICELESS!!!
My two pennies worth.
vortexadminman is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2008, 23:18
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Uk( well sometimes)
Posts: 150
Crew'd in after a bloody long day with a great front end to fly up to Cardiff ( Civvy Park !!!)to drop one of the crewmen off for a dying Grand Parent. The Sqn kicked in when it needed to , all for one of the family. Been on several Comp A, B , Cs all over the world for various services and ranks , even had my cab brought back early when the wife was rushed into hospital during her pregnancy . Great system that works why change what aint broken?
Rude C'man is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2008, 19:51
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Shrops
Posts: 209
Since having to use the system whilst stationed in Cyprus in the mid 90's, I can only say - if only the whole system worked as efficiently as this.

On the subject of short-cutting the system, my recollections are that not every individual posted or detached oversees was aware of it; I was given cards with the Compasionate Cell 24 hour number on them to give to my parents and in-laws. Yet when on Ord Sgt at Akrotiri I recieved a good number of late night calls from distraught relatives trying to get in touch with 'SAC Bloggs' because a family member was gravely ill and they needed Bloggs home ASAP. I made a point of ensuring I always had the Comp Cell number available when on duty NCO in case of such a call, because it wasn't always as prominently displayed in the MGR as IMHO it should have been.
splitbrain is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2008, 20:12
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Scotland
Posts: 62

[QUOTE]what's the point in moving it to Gosport anyway?[/QUOTE]

As far as I can see none. Given likely disruption in support to deployed personnel, reduced service to families, damage to casualty reporting system, loss of trained staff....... but then again, I believe the Chief Executive of the SPVA is an Admiral based at Centurion. Could there be a link?

I wouldn't thought that the process of 'considering' this proposal would take long.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Let's hope so, but I would not be so sure of the outcome with this Goverments track record!
Topsy Turvey is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2008, 23:59
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Under the duvet
Posts: 30
Have dealt with several incidents as a blunty over the years but some are memorable - whilst on ex in Western USA I get a phone call in the wee small hours from JCCC (what stars they are) saying that Airman Bloggs' relative is very ill in the UK and he needs to come home soonest. They give me a classification for him and the phone number for the incredibly helpful people in DTMA (more unsung heroes). THere were no mil flights for several days so DTMA booked the next civ flights out of Sleepy Hollow and the connections to get him across the world to his local airport. His home unit had arranged a car to meet him at this airport, so when I met him for breakfast with the bad news and an itinerary, all he had to do was pack and get in the car as I took him to Sleepy Hollow airfield.
When you have been given the bad news that your nearest and dearest are not doing so well, the last thing you want to worry about is how you are going to get back to them from the other side of the world. JCCC and DTMA take all of that stress off you - leave them alone to do what they do best.
Scribbly is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2008, 00:10
  #27 (permalink)  
Fat Albert
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wilts, UK
Age: 59
Posts: 287
When you have been given the bad news that your nearest and dearest are not doing so well, the last thing you want to worry about is how you are going to get back to them from the other side of the world. JCCC and DTMA take all of that stress off you - leave them alone to do what they do best.
That pretty much sums it up. It is not broken, it works extremely well, leave it alone!!
C130 Techie is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2008, 19:25
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: South of Old Warden
Age: 82
Posts: 1,380
Some good stories here. Getting guys and girls back home in emergencies was always carried out efficiently with no fuss, even35-50 years ago!............................................. So I'm told!
goudie is offline  
Old 12th Mar 2008, 21:40
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Rompers Green
Age: 64
Posts: 37
Ive been on the flying end of quite a few Comp cases in my time. It is realy good when you see the Comp Cell, DTMA, ASCOT Ops and the sqn crews all pulling in the same direction.
I remember on one occasion out of Kabul after a lot of faffing with dip clears we managed to join the pattern just in front of a Royal Brunai jet from LHR who took our comp on to Brunai.
On another we picked up a lad from Mas i Sharrif and got him to Bucharest 20 min before BA left for LHR. Unfortunatly he had an empty mag in his bag and local plod was not impressed and he missed the flight. I learnt about Comp A's from that.
Picked up another lad in Basrah to take him to Bahrain and remembering Bucharest asked the lad if he had anything to declare before going through a civvi airport. No says he. Just check all your kit says I. About 10 mins later he asked would I be able to look after a few spares for him. No problem says I.
ISTR in the old days that comp A was fastest possible means. If necessary that ment concord when it was still flying. Dont know what the rules say now though.
T Shirt
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Old 15th Mar 2008, 21:26
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 238
A terrific system and long may it continue. I've seen loads since starting my OOA at the start of Feb. One I do recall is some poor lad stuck in KDH needing to get home to see his very ill mother.

Straight on a C130 to us. However, with no civil flights available back to the UK he went home in a specially chartered Hawker 800XP biz jet. Hope he got back in time
fantaman is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2008, 13:26
  #31 (permalink)  

Gentleman Aviator
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Teetering Towers - somewhere in the Shires
Age: 70
Posts: 3,385
Was a desky at Barnwood some years ago and the Duty Personnel Officer (DPO) was one of the most fulfilling jobs I've down outside of the cockpit.

Our one-star always briefed us: "if in doubt - do it and you'll be supported" - a bit less of that about in general terms these days I think. Two particular occasions I recall - one was me and one a was a mate. Both concerned the other way round to what has been mentioned - that is getting NOK to badly injured servicemen or wives of. I'll be a bit vague to protect anonymity....

First the mates - was to get parents to Germany. Parents were from West Country, but currently on holiday in Channel Islands - so passports still in Oggie-land. Parents contacted and flown back to Gatwick for Germany. meanwhile, details of passport location were passed to civpol who broke into the house (!), got passports and raced them up the M5/M4/M25 to Gatwick - and changing cars and coppers at a couple of force baoundaries on their way. Much credit to the Bill there too!

Mine was getting a Mum to Germany to comfort heavily preggers daughter whose husband had gone "missing presumed" on a faraway det. Only an address of Mum and no 'phone number, so 'phoned nearest RAF Station to pass message and get Mum to call me. No answer from SDO - well it was late-ish Saturday night, so in accordance with SOPs called the Staish - him Gp Capt me Sqn Ldr! Staish says he'll b*llock the SDO on Monday and do it himself. So (I hear later from him) he dons No 1 and goes to Mum's flat - to find she doesn't live there any more - but has sold to a mate who gives new address - off goes Harry to new address. Mum 'phones me and we sort the flight to Germany. Mum v. distressed and asks if hubby can come too. Slight drawing of breath (Hubby not reeely entitled) and say yes. Well actually, says Mum, he's my "common-law husband". Draws slightly deeper breath, say yes again and it's all sorted. And no comebacxk from the system, at all.....

I shudder to think what JPA - or any automatic system would do ....
teeteringhead is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2008, 20:09
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Oop North (where the beer is best)
Posts: 46
Had to come back from KDH last year when my Mum died unexpectedly. It was Comp B but everyone except ASCOT Ops pulled all the stops out. 2 Comp As came back as well, their mates having fought their way out of the patrol bases to secure a new HLS after the existing one was compromised.

Huge respect for all involved from aircrew to lineys and the guys who helped to get their mates out. I knew what I was going back to, the other 2 didn't, and I really felt for them.

Ironically I'd been talking to my Canadian colleague the day I got the news about just how good our system is: she couldn't believe it. The Canadians' (and the Americans') is more a case of "All those with parents take one step forward...Smith where do you think you're going?" and then to let them try to find their own way back.

It was incredibly reassuring to know that everything within their power was sorted for me.
BackfromIraq is offline  
Old 17th Mar 2008, 21:04
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Wichita, USA
Age: 57
Posts: 127
MPA in the late 80's

Got a call in 87 that we had to get one of the guys back to the UK. Tristar day so all was well. Unfortunately, said airman was over in Stanley playing rugby. No problem - bring wokka up to serviceable status in under an hour, get a scratch crew together and fly to Stanley landing in the middle of the pitch. Meanwhile, couple of lads dispatched back to accomodation to pick up chappies goods and chattels (and a spare set of clothes for him to change into rather than spending the entire flight in his rugby kit).

Delay TStar takeoff for a bit. Pick up chap in Stanley, ferry back to MPA, hover taxi all the way to the TStar steps. Airman on board close doors, chocks away etc.

Bloody brilliant system - don't mess with it!
FlightTester is offline  
Old 29th Mar 2008, 10:27
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: SW UK
Age: 52
Posts: 10
Having actually worked in the comp cell at DTMA (now DSCOM), i can agree with most of the threads.

For comp 'Alpha's' we pull out all stops. As far as expense goes, we had to look at the most economically/fastest way. If that ment we had to charter a jet from Kuwait to the UK as the comercial outlet was 5 hours later, then we would. The Charter would cost around 40,000 and the commercial would be 300. If the comp arrived at KWI and the comercial was only 2 hours later, then the comp would have to wait as we couldn't justify the expense to the 'commercial' division at DTMA. On the occasions that the pax went commercial then we would try,(depending on the final destination), get a helicopter to take the pax direct to the hospital. If they needed to get to Scotland then we would book another commercial flight from LHR/LGW and when they arrived have a taxi waiting to take them to their destination. I personally have used the local Police to meet them at the landing site of the helicopter if the landing pad wasn't near the hospital to take them there and the Police were very willing to do so. Unfortunately at that time, we wern't allowed to use Concorde, too expensive. But we were allowed to book first class if that was the only seat available on other aircraft, which could have been more expensive than Concorde!...go figure

As far as comp 'Bravo's' go, it is usually the units responsibility to arrange the on-move of the comp from the airhead. However, we would organise an internal commercial flight to get them to the North of the Country where the home unit would then organise the on-move.

And the Royal Navy? Well they are a law unto themselves. Most units would ring the comp cell to arrange the on-move. We would only be too happy to assist. But usually within 24 hrs they would call DTMA and ask for the flight to be changed. This usually meant that we couldn't get a refund for the original booking, so more expense. We learn't from these experiences and 90% of the time booked them with a flexible ticket. There were still occasions where the Navy book there own flights and didn't pass the flight details to us. Therefore if the pax was arriving at LHR/LGW there was nobody from the 'Civil Air Detchment' around to meet and assist them, and these folks we able to queue jump customs and immigration and get them out of the airports quickly! Consiquently there was the odd comp stranded at these airports,and if they wern't, when they rang DTMA for a return flight back to the ship, we knew nothing about them.

In the time i was there it was very rewarding to get someone back in time to say goodbye to their loved ones. As said in other threads, it is a system that the MoD actually does well.
RolyFirkinQC is offline  
Old 29th Mar 2008, 15:48
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 238
Does anyone know what trades man the comp cell? Seems like a very rewarding job, keep up all the good work you guys do.
fantaman is offline  
Old 29th Mar 2008, 15:58
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Wiltshire
Age: 55
Posts: 902
Comp Cell at DTMA / DSCOM is manned by Movers both RAF and Army. Used to FS / SSgt and a Cpl on duty at any time
November4 is offline  
Old 29th Mar 2008, 17:02
  #37 (permalink)  

Champagne anyone...?
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: EGDL
Age: 50
Posts: 1,410

Done many Comps in my time on C130s - always rewarding to be involved with.

My only personal involvement was many years ago stuck with a u/s Herc on a lump of rock in the middle of the Atlantic. I was advised by my parents that my sister was scheduled for transplant surgery very soon and could I get back to see her before she went under. Delighted to say that Ascot Ops replied that no I couldn't go back as they'd then be a crew member down for the broken Herc. Fortunately the sqn bypassed those morons and we forged our plan to get back. As it was the surgery was cancelled at the last minute and I got back to see her. She subsequently died during transplant surgery a while later. Consequently I've always felt compelled to do everything I can when tasked with Comp As. I've also also harboured a deep wish that the Sqn Ldr on Ascot Ops that night has since died a horrible death.
StopStart is offline  
Old 29th Mar 2008, 21:56
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire
Posts: 45
SS, how long ago? Depending on when, the individual may still be involved in the Comp system, just further up the chain.
Baskitt Kase is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2008, 13:06
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: England
Posts: 473

That individual should be totally ashamed of themselves. Even if (by using the most jobsworth of intrepretations) you were not a compassionate case, the subsequent flight-safety issue is a no-brainer. How on earth could someone with any notion of supervisory reponsibilities expect you to continue with a routine task under such circumstances? Was this pathetic individual a fellow Ascoteer or an Ops Supporter?

You are a better man than me for not declaring yourself unfit and making your own way home.

On a lighter note, it was often amusing to watch the "command-chain" in the Falklands deal with sending one of their own aircraft more than a couple of hundred miles from base. It was as if they had no concept that the crews might actually be capable of looking after themselves - like they did all the time in their proper jobs.
Brain Potter is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2008, 14:15
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NZ
Posts: 307
Having voluntarily been bounced of a flight back to the UK by a mate who had serious parent problems going on (Father later died I believe), I happilly took over the stint in FI over Xmas and NY. Later given the clearance to return to the UK by next available flight I jumped on a C17...only to be turned back 5hrs outbound to pick up a comp A from MPA....Now as a smoker (sorry) this was a little un-believable, but the comp A was in fact the father of a suicide attempt (son) in Cyprus... I happilly went back to MPA for a ciggie..
On arrival at Ascension lots of hours later (and one ciggie) I learnt there was no onward flight.
But on the tarmac was a Tommy, so I enquired as to the chance of jumpin on it to get to the UK and the response was...speak to the Captain, which I did, and for a couple of cups of coffee (en-route), myself and the comp A got back to Brize. Comp A was transited straight to a private jet to Cyprus, and I went home by own means..
Bottom line... If it aint broken.....
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