Deployed U.K. forces pay tribute to “The Few”

by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


9/26/2013 – SOUTHWEST ASIA — Royal Air Force service members deployed with the 83 Expeditionary Air Group gathered outside the unit’s headquarters here Sept. 20 paying tribute to RAF pilots who fought off Nazi Germany’s air force and other RAF personnel who supported their “epic” 1940 air battle now known as the Battle of Britain.

“Over 70 years on from the Battle of Britain, the RAF continues to protect the nation with air power,” said Group Capt. Domonic Stamp, the 83 EAG’s deputy air component commander. “We never forget that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants, so we were proud to take a moment out of our busy lives to salute ‘The Few.'”

Winston Churchill summed up the effect of the battle and the contribution of Fighter Command with the words, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Pilots who fought in the battle have been known as ‘The Few’ ever since.

“Their grit and courage, and the hard work of their ground crews and air battle managers, are an inspiration to everyone who serves on operations with the RAF today,” Stamp said.

Although most RAF units commemorated the Battle of Britain on Sept. 15, the day in 1940 when the RAF is considered to have beaten the Luftwaffe, operational demands and mission requirements prevented the deployed service members from holding the traditional ceremony until five days later.

The RAF holds this day special as it was the day the Luftwaffe embarked on their largest bombing attack yet, forcing the engagement of the entirety of the RAF Fighter Command in defense of London and the South East, which resulted in a decisive victory in favor of Britain and marked a turning point in the war.

U.K. forces are deployed to Afghanistan and the Broader Middle East in support of the U.N.-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission and as part of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom.

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