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17 December 2010, 11:30
A former Royal Marine who has served in Afghanistan has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Gavin O'Connell and his wife Jennifer will be going to Buckingham Palace today to receive his MBE from Her Majesty.
Gavin O'Connell who lives in Winchester has been awarded the MBE for his work in Afghanistan between January 2008 and October 2009 with Y Squadron Royal Marines. His citation says he has been recognised for: "pioneering a number of initiatives in conjunction with UK and coalition partners. His vision and drive was remarkable."
He now works at Roke Manor Research.
Chris Tarran, Electronic Warfare Business Sector Manager for Roke, said:
"Gavin achieved a reputation in the Royal Marines as someone who could deliver ground-breaking Electronic Warfare capabilities, so we were delighted when he decided to work with us. As his employer, we are extremely proud that his unique experience and dedication to developing initiatives that save the lives of his fellow marines and soldiers is being formally recognised by the nation."
Gavin O’Connell said of the award:
"I am surprised and honoured to be recognised in this way. While my family are very proud and excited about this honour, our success in Afghanistan wasn't down to me, but the sheer professionalism of the men in Y Squadron."
O’Connell previously served with the Royal Marines as the Y Squadron Operations Warrant Officer. His ideas have driven Electronic Warfare policy within the coalition and have been accepted and implemented as best practice. O'Connell's personal initiatives have also instigated, and been incorporated into multi-million pound equipment procurement projects.
In Afghanistan O'Connell pioneered the successful convergence of EW assets to provide actionable intelligence for commanders on the ground, particularly in the deployment of unique stratigic support to tactical deployed operations. While serving with the Royal Marines, he qualified as an EW operator at the SIGINT Wing in 1999 and was a team commander on operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While in the UK he became the user lead on the successful SCARUS lightweight CESM project and developed the ‘radio reconnaissance team’ concept.