Robert 'Bob' Shenton
Bob joined the RAF in 2005 as a weapons systems’ operator, streamed as a helicopter loadmaster. His first operational posting was to 33 Sqn on the Puma helicopter but after volunteering for Chinook conversion Bob was posted to 27 Sqn. From 2009-2015 Bob deployed on multiple occasions to Afghanistan on MERT. To this day, MERT remains one of the most meaningful, memorable and rewarding parts of his life.
In 2015 Bob was diagnosed with PTSD, resulting in a medical discharge from the RAF. Bob has built a new life as a civilian whilst using his own experiences to provide insight and advice to both serving personnel and veterans about the issues of mental health.
MERT perhaps was unique in the way it brought people together from a Tri-Service background – but it came with risk. So many who flew with MERT never had a concrete identity such as a common squadron or regiment with which they could relate: The MERT Club helps to amend this. Bob believes that having support from his own unit during difficult times was a key factor in his recovery.
After being given the opportunity to lead the Club as President, it is Bob’s personal mission to ensure that everyone who flew MERT is given the opportunity to join the community. Through the Club, Bob is committed to ensuring a support network is available for all MERT colleagues, where the hard-earned lessons of the past are preserved, wellbeing and opportunity is promoted throughout, and that the MERT Club acts as the custodian of its legacy.