As we celebrate Armed Forces Week, two members of the NATS team, Brian Wheeler and Gus Wells, have been made Honorary Members of the RAF’s 78 Squadron, based at our Swanwick Centre.

Armed Forces Week commemorates the service, both past and present, of men and women in the British Armed Forces, so what better time to celebrate some achievements closer to home.  The RAF’s air traffic control unit at Swanwick was assigned the historic 78 Squadron numberplate in April 2021 and both Brian and Gus have been hugely instrumental in helping to build our joint and integrated working relationship.  They have also helped support Squadron ethos and identity and the strong bonds with our civilian counterparts who we work side-by-side with, in the Operations Room.

Gus Wells spent many years in the military and was an Air Traffic Management Senior Leader in the RAF in 2018, when he joined NATS as Head of MOD Business Development.  He campaigns tirelessly for better employment opportunities for ex-military professionals, whilst also mentoring and supporting many of the current personnel on 78 Squadron.

“If it is not a cliché, it is a real honour to have been made an honorary member of 78 Squadron.  The professional relationship between NATS and the Squadron is obvious and highly valued and, whilst the military air traffic control elements have operated under different names over time, our shared aim of keeping the skies safe goes back many years.  Personally, I am really pleased to be able to maintain a link to my own military past and I look forward to joining the Squadron at their events in the future.”
Gus Wells, Head of MOD Business Development

Brian Wheeler, Swanwick Deputy General Manager, was an Air Traffic Controller in the RAF between 1992 and 2000; he then went on to join NATS in West Drayton.  He’s held operational and supervisory roles, including managing the civil-military relationship which we are very grateful for.  I am pleased to see his skills and experience are also being used in his secondment as Chief Operating Officer of the Aerobility charity.  He has been a great support to the Squadron, briefing on our training days, securing high-profile speakers for resilience building and attended all our social and ceremonial functions.  He is a great advocate for ex-military in industry.

“I am delighted and proud to have been honoured in this way by 78 Squadron.  The armed forces have played a huge part in my life, and I consider it a great privilege to be given the opportunities I have had to continue my association”.
Brian Wheeler, Swanwick Deputy General Manager

Brian is also a finalist in the Inspiration of the Year category, at the sixth annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards in London on 29 June.  The awards ceremony demonstrates the huge value that veterans offer across all sectors and attracted over 1,100 nominations this year.  It’s a great achievement for Brian to be named as a finalist and we wish him the best of luck on the night.



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