Thursday, 20 August 2009

New Station Officer at RNAS Culdrose

This is in August editon of Cornwall Today.

Wing Commander Paul Loader has been appointed Station Commander at RAF St Mawgan. Born and raised in Cornwall, he is a keen sportsman and spent five years teaching Physical Education and outdoor activities before joining the RAF in 1992.

You were born in Illogan but have served in Bosnia, Holland and Germany. How has your upbringing in Cornwall influenced you?
Massively, because I was brought up outdoors, and on the beach which I love. It encouraged me to explore and my physical upbringing has been very useful to me as a Phys Ed teacher, rugby player and as part of the Military.

What made you decide to join the RAF?
I was coming towards the end of my rugby career and needed new challenges. Since then all my aspirations have been delivered by joining the Air Force, and now I am delighted and honored to take over command of RAF St Mawgan.

Military flying ended in December 2008, amid a lot of uncertainty – what role will RAF St Mawgan fulfill now and in the future?

I will be focusing on our engagement and involvement in the community and ensuring that the Station and its personnel continue to contribute and play an active and leading role in Cornwall. We are now specializing in ground training: adventure training, military skills, survival and decompression training, so we provide a holistic training centre for all three military services.

I am particularly pleased for our civilian personnel and all our friends in the community who have lived with uncertainty over recent years, and would like to thank each and every one of them for their continued support, hardwork and loyalty.

How many military personnel are there?
At the moment there are 200 military personnel and 150 civilians, but from next summer approximately 90,000 personnel, cadets and troops, could be coming through RAF St Mawgan per year.

What does your role as Station Commander of RAF St Mawgan involve?
I suppose you could say I'm the pinnacle of the pyramid. My role is to lead, motivate and direct all efforts towards supporting frontline operations, whether it's running messes, supply and logistics or training for deployment. I am very proud to take command of a RAF Base, but particularly so, as a Cornishman, to take a command in Cornwall.

What made you return to Cornwall?
I have three boys, and was keen to bring my family back to Cornwall – I find Cornwall inspiring, magical and unbeatable from anywhere I have visited around the world. We were having a holiday here when I heard that RAF St Mawgan was drawing down, and I thought why haven't I applied? So I did – and finally got the job!

I understand you have a degree in PE and are a keen rugger player – what role does sport have in your life?
A huge role. I've kept fit all my life and now I try and train every day. You need to be fit in mind and body for a military life - if you're deployed overseas, you need to be able to take responsibility for yourself and lead or support others around you.

If you hadn't joined the RAF, what would you like to have done?
Something sporting – perhaps adventure training, rugby coaching or become a lecturer in PE.

What's your favorite place in Cornwall?
I can't say that – everyone might go there and then it wouldn't be so special! All right then – I have several which depend on the time of year, the weather, my mood and so on. I like quiet places, so Holywell and Gwithian are two of my favourite beaches.

How do you relax?
I enjoy partying, cooking and physical activities of all sorts – and training on the beach.

Will you retire to Cornwall?
Oh yes – without a doubt!


Debs said...

It says a lot about Cornwall when someone who has travelled so much wants to retire there.

Akelamalu said...

Good interview!

Retiring to Cornwall sounds like heaven :)

Elaine said...

Cornwall is beautiful and he sounds wonderful!

Flowerpot said...

Debs - exactly!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - well I think so too. I plan to!

Elaine - he was lovely. Incredible manners and a nice sense of humour.

ChrisH said...

Wow! What a man! That interview must have been a pleasure to do, Fp.

Ellee Seymour said...

I'm long overdue a visit to Cornwall. I have a friend there who works in the health service as a press officer and maybe one day I will make it there. I would certainly love to visit its gardens.

Fia said...

We were posted to RAF ST Mawgan during the Bosnia Conflict. I prefer not to dwell on that but we did love living in St Eval with the American marines. It was great posting with only forty mins drive to our family in Cawsand.

Great interview - he sounds such an interesting man.

Flowerpot said...

Chris - it was. He was a real sweetie - though afterwards I realised the tape hadnt recorded the interview - AAAHH!!

Flowerpot said...

Ellee - if you do, please get in touch. It would be great to meet up.

Fia - sorry you had an unhappy time there. I would guess military life can be very difficult at times, particularly for the wives.

Fia said...

Sorry Flowerpot, my mistake. I loved St Mawgans. St Eval was one of the married quarter sites and we were very happy there. The Bosnian Conflict was just one part of that life.

Again, a super interview:)

Flowerpot said...

Fia - glad you enjoyed St Mawgan - and the piece!

Sandra Ferguson said...

I picture Cornwall with rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and pastures of a green so brilliant my eyes would hurt. All of it sounds wonderful.

In Texas, at the moment, we're hot and dry. Brown is the most popular summer color as a number of crops are simply burning in the fields. Even the dust has dust. Good news is that this season always ends. Until then, I think of your cool summers and hear the ocean in my ears.

Philipa said...

At last a piece involving a military officer that isn't bad news. The news is filthy with bad news. I think our men should come home. Now. See my latest post for reasons. But I warn you the link is not for before luncheon.

Flowerpot said...

Sandra - Cornwall is all that - depending whereabouts you go in Cornwall of course. This morning Falmouth has a well washed look from deluging rain overnight. The harbour looks worn out, at peace finally, with a ripple of wind and a grey slate sky. I'm not sure that I could cope with your TExas heat and dust!

Flowerpot said...

Phil - there's a lot to be said for working on a magazine that only deals with good news. Makes life a lot more pleasurable.