Yesterday saw the final parade night of our beloved Commanding Officer Flight Lieutenant Stepanian, as he leaves to become a Wing Staff Officer taking on the roles of Wing Fieldcraft Officer and Deputy Wing Adventure Training and Technical Officer.
Flight lieutenant Stepanian joined the Squadron back as a Cadet Warrant Officer as part of his development towards commissioned service, in September 2006. After an exciting cadet career including completing all levels of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the Nijmegen Marches, a Gliding Scholarship and a Flying Scholarship. Flight Lieutenant Stepanian was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in February 2007.
He immediately assumed the role of Training Officer on the unit under the then Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Marriott. During this period the Squadron was successful in winning the South and East Midlands Wing Training Award – The Salter Shield and achieving second place in the Auster Trophy competition. Alongside his squadron commitments, Stepanian joined the South and East Midlands Wing Cadet Development Team in October 2007 supporting Leadership Training as well as completing his Basic Expedition Leader Award through the Wing Adventure Training Team.
After a brief period under Flying Officer Richards as Officer in Charge, Stepanian assumed command of 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron Air Training Corp (ATC) in mid-2008 and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in early 2009. In early 2009, Stepanian was awarded a Regional Commandant’s Certificate of Merit for his work on the Cadet Development Team and was appointed as the Wing NCO Leadership Director. In addition, he was part of a contingent of the Cadet Development Team who won the Air Officer Commanding No 22 Training Group Team Commendation, as part of the 2009 Queens Birthday Honours.
In late 2011 Stepanian was seconded to HMS Sultan, Gosport as part of his civilian role as an engineer. During this period he retained an active role in the unit before returning to full time command in mid-2012. Over this time he completed his Trail Cycle Leader Qualification and Mountain Leader Award by training with the Cadet Centres for Adventurous Training in Snowdonia and the Lake District.
From 2012 to the present, Stepanian has led 2195 (Long Eaton) Squadron ATC through one of its most challenging and successful periods for a number of years. After spending 9 months operating from rented halls with no permanent accommodation in 2013 the squadron has moved into its brand new headquarters in Long Eaton Joint Cadet Centre. Since then the squadron has gone on to achieve 6th Place in the Auster Trophy for 2014 and win South and East Midlands Wing Field Day 2015.
On top of his squadron commitments Flight Lieutenant Stepanian has acted as the Camp Commandant for the annual Wing Adventure Training Camp in Windermere as well as holding the role of Training Officer for the annual Wing Camp at DTE Swynnerton since 2013. In addition, Stepanian is heavily involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme running multi-squadron expeditions locally and supervising the Wing Gold Expedition Team. He was awarded the Squadron Leader Brady Trophy for Outstanding Contribution to the Wing in late 2014.
The Squadron will now be left in the capable hands of Flying Officer Buckingham who has been with us since May 2014, it is hoped that he can continue the success of the Squadron.
Cadet Warrant Officer Rebecca Parr, aged 19, said “As a younger Cadet I don’t really think you understand how much goes into running a Squadron, I know I certainly didn’t, but to run the Squadron as well as our boss is a real credit to him as a Commanding Officer. The Squadron won’t quite be the same without him, as all of us have grown up under his command and his guidance. We really will miss him on the Squadron, and wish the best of luck to him in his new career as a Wing Staff Officer, a career I’m sure he will excel at.”