Major Mark Hammond joined the Royal Marines in 1989. After specializing as a pilot, he flew Gazelle and Lynx helicopters for 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron and, subsequently, 847 Naval Air Squadron. After a tour in America with the US Marine Corps flying Cobra attack helicopters, he now flies the Chinook HC2 on exchange with the RAF. He took part in the 2003 assault on Iraq's Al-Fawr Peninsula and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in Afghanistan in 2006.
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