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A ROYAL Navy officer says he is humbled to have received an MBE for his work as an air engineering officer in Libya and Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Commander Neil Loughrey, 44, from Gosport, has been given the award for ensuring Lynx helicopters used by 857 Naval Air Squadron were fit and ready to fly on high-tempo operations.

His citation read: ‘Your professionalism and determination ensured the aircraft were maintained to the highest standards and ready to meet every task.’

Lt Cdr Loughrey’s attitude was described as ‘remarkable and in the finest traditions of the service.’

The 44-year-old said: ‘This was a complete surprise.

‘I am honoured to have received such a prestigious award, however the successes of the naval air squadron were due to a superb team effort.

‘I am humbled to be singled out but all I did was work hard for the team so they worked hard for me.’

Born and raised in Gosport, Lt Cdr Loughrey went to Brune Park Comprehensive before joining the Royal Navy in 1986.

Married to Emmakate, he has three children and now works at RNAS Yeovilton.

He added: ‘I really enjoyed my time in Camp Bastion where I was the senior aircraft engineer.

‘It was a demanding and challenging role with five aircraft types and four supporting sub units to command and manage. It was long hours but hugely rewarding.’