MBE crowns “astounding” career of brave RAF policeman

PROUD DAY -- for Phil Rodd and wife Dawn, pictured with his MBE
PROUD DAY -- for Phil Rodd and wife Dawn, pictured with his MBE

A man with strong Ashfield and Mansfield connections has been awarded the MBE at the end of a long and distinguished career in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Warrant Officer Phil Rodd (52) has made what his bosses describe as “an unwavering and astounding” contribution to three decades with the RAF Police.

And it was the proudest moment of his life when he and wife Dawn (51) travelled down to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE, which was awarded in the New Year’s Honours List. “I was totally humbled and somewhat overcome,” said Phil.

Born in Chesterfield, Phil moved to Mansfield as a youngster and spent some of his teenage years working at the David Boot butcher’s shop on West Gate. After marrying Dawn, they lived on Church Street, Kirkby for 15 years.

Phil joined the RAF in 1985 and soon gathered extensive operational experience. In the 1990s, he worked in Northern Ireland, where he was an arms and explosive search handler, working with dogs to find devices on Army patrol routes.

He has been deployed on numerous other tours, to places such as the Balkans, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, where Phil has shown skill, dedication and courage.

In Kabul in 2004, he was convoy commander and ran the risk of suicide bombers twice a day as he ensured his crew arrived at the airport safely.

From 2006, he played a key role in Operation Herrick, which is the codename for British operations in Afghanistan.

He carried out several missions in Helmand Province, integrating with Army frontline troops. And he was responsible for engaging and interacting with the local population, which he did so well that, at one point, the insurgents put a contract on his head. His last deployment dealt with a plethora of issues at Camp Bastion. H

Phil is currently serving at RAF Henlow, near Bedford, from where he is retiring this year. He and his wife plan to live in Brittany in France.

Said Phil: “I have been lucky enough to experience 30 incredibly varied years and travel the world. Much of that time has been very positive, and I have made many friends. But there have also been times that I prefer not to remenber, and friends that I have lost.

“I dedicate my MBE to my family, particularly Dawn and my father-in-law Dennis who, sadly, is no longer with us.”