LAC Mark Smith
Mark was born on the 5th March 1970 and grew up in the Mosspark area of Glasgow in the early 1980s, where he lived with his parents and brother. It was here where his passion for aviation grew and at the right age he joined No. 2175 (Rolls Royce) Squadron Air Training Corps in the Hillington Estate in Glasgow.
He loved being an Air Cadet and every Wednesday and Friday would attend for training with two good friends, John Baxter and Jim Shanks. They learned about leadership and teamwork and participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Mark was drawn more to the operational side of aviation in particular to airfield operations and Air Traffic Control, and this passion stayed with him for many years after leaving the Cadets.
Some years later, Mark applied to join the Royal Air Force in the role of Air Traffic Controller, but then decided he wanted to have some life experience before committing himself to the Service. He then went on his journey working home and abroad within the travel sector, and by doing this he could expand his leadership experience and at the same time keep up to date with current airfield operations.
Mark returned to the UK in the early 2000s and changed his career to telecommunications, gaining a senior role with Orange as Head of Business. In 2002 he joined 609 (West Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force at RAF Leeming as a Flight Operations Assistant. This was an unfinished dream come true, taking him back to those years when he had originally thought about joining the Royal Air Force. He completed his training under a watchful eye of the instructors and due to his joyful manner he earned the nickname “Shrek”.
Due to a change of address and circumstances Mark left 609 Squadron and transferred to 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, where he served until 2006. It was here that Mark was reunited with his old childhood friend Jim Shanks, who at that time was serving on 603 Squadron, and for both is was just like reliving all those years before in the Air Cadets.
By this time Mark had met Nicola, his future wife and soul-