Tonight, specially selected service personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will raise the Union and Olympic flags at the spectacular London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
A select team of 16 tri-Service personnel will raise the flags before a global audience of billions.
Meticulous preparations for this prestigious honour took place at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire earlier this month. Personnel from all three Services were trained in the delicate art of flag raising, as well as drill refresher training and rigorous inspections of their ceremonial uniform.
In total, 176 individuals from all three services have been chosen for the privileged role of flag bearers at more than 100 Team Welcome and 805 Victory Ceremonies across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the Opening Ceremony.
Showcasing the British forces
One of those chosen to represent the Royal Navy is Warrant Officer John Hiscock QGM RM, from Epsom, Surrey. Across 26 years services in the Royal Marines, John has served in Northern Island, Sierra Leone and Iraq and is a recipient of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions on Operation Telic. He said:
"It is an immense privilege to represent the Royal Navy and Royal Marines on home soil at such a prestigious global event. The opening ceremony is a unique opportunity to highlight the significant contribution made by the UK Armed Forces both at home and overseas."
26-year-old Platoon Sergeant Kyle Reains from Dundonald, Belfast, serves with 1st Battalion Irish Guards. He proved his dedication and bravery on operations when wounded in Afghanistan when he prioritised the evacuation of other injured troops before himself. Defying the prognosis that he may never run again, Kyle is training for a marathon and preparing for the Army Cross Country Skiing Championships. He said:
"To be chosen to represent Great Britain and the British Army at the Olympic Games is a huge honour. I am proud to participate in the headline Olympic event, showcasing the British forces on behalf of all UK personnel deployed on operations around the world."
Royal Air Force Sportswoman of the year Flight Lieutenant Rachael Cadman from Oban, Scotland, has excelled in extreme endurance sports. Rachael completed the notorious Enduroman Arch to Arc triathlon, running 87 miles from London before swimming the English Channel and finishing with a 185 mile cycle to Paris. She said:
"The feelings of excitement and pride in representing my country and the Royal Air Force at the Olympics opening ceremony are enormous. It is an immense privilege to be chosen to fly the flag on behalf of all UK Servicemen and women."