Steve Satterly – Armed Forces Week

Published: 26 June 2024

To mark Armed Forces Week, we sat down with Security Manager Steve Satterly, a former member of the Military Police in the Royal Air Force, to discuss his time serving and how that helps him today, in his role with Sheffield Forgemasters.

Tell us about your background in the Armed Forces.

I served with the RAF in a Military Police role, for a full 22-year term. I was late to join compared to most service personnel and joined at 28 years of age after a series of unfulfilling roles and purely by chance, after walking past an RAF recruitment centre in Exeter. It was that simple – I went from living with my wife in our house in Devon to basic training at RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire five days later. I was subsequently moved to RAF Newton in Nottinghamshire for Military Police training which was a tough six months of intensive study before my first posting, RAF High Wycombe.

It was a massive shift from working in roles such as insurance sales, railway work, photographic development and the other assorted jobs that I’d previously held and I immediately felt that this was the right choice, because I had a real direction in my career for the first time.

What do you miss most about serving in the Armed Forces?

The thing that you’re most likely to hear about why people enjoyed their time in the armed forces, is the camaraderie. It’s a real family feeling and the friendships, team-building and bonds are incredibly strong. I think this is partly because of the time you spend together in training and postings, but also because of how important it is to look out for each other when you’re on duty.

Discipline is also a good thing because it teaches you how to look after yourself, how to prepare, how to do basic tasks to the best of your ability and those skills and habits stay with you for life.

I also miss the training and personal development. I was able to train to become highly specialised in counter-intelligence, covering all elements of Physical and Protective security, looking after dignitaries and other VIPs. My work was recognised in the 2010 Queen’s Honours, with a commendation for services rendered in the course of duty. It was an incredible reward and confirmed that I’d always been on the right path. 

Image - Steve (pictured right), is recognised in the 2010 Queen’s Honours

Being in the Armed Forces usually presents opportunities to travel. Where did you serve and what was your favourite country you visited?

I served in many countries and conducted eight tours of duty, serving in Iraq (two tours), Afghanistan (two tours), Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia and a short tour out in Sierra Leone. These were war-torn areas and for much of the time, the work was intense and difficult to process, so it was difficult to see much pleasure in being there. However, I also got to serve at; RAF High Wycombe , RAF Gutersloh (Germany), NATO Headquarters - Ramstein Air Force Base Germany, RAF Staff College Bracknell, RAF St Mawgan, RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus), RAF Waddington and RAF Cranwell.

My favourite posting by far was RAF Akrotiri. There were various reasons including the weather, great team spirit and the role was interesting and varied. Our three children had a great education, and we took advantage of the location to explore Israel, Palestine and Egypt.

What skills and experiences did you gain whilst serving in the armed forces that you use in your current role?

The skills learned in the armed forces are wide and varied but include things like commitment to work, punctuality, the importance of bringing projects to successful completion, team-building and working with diverse teams, fast decision-making, detailed investigative skills, ethical leadership, training and development, crisis management, effective communication and an ability to respect hierarchies and systems. Teamwork is a very important skill, and it is great to recognise some of that same camaraderie here, in the workplace.

During the latter part of my career I specialised in Counter-Intelligence with responsibilities covering all areas of protective security, including; counter terrorism, espionage, sabotage, subversion and non-traditional threats. Those skills acquired definitely help in my current role as the Security Manager here at Sheffield Forgemasters.

Finally, what does Armed Forces Week mean to you and why do you think it is important to continue to support people in the armed forces and veterans?

Armed Forces Week is incredibly important! To those who served and continue to serve, their families and those who gave their lives to serve their country.

The armed forces are intrinsic to the safety and freedoms that we all enjoy and recognising the people who serve, shows that the hard work they put into being the best in the world at what they do, isn’t taken for granted.

It is also a great vehicle for encouraging a new generation to join the forces, where a vast range of transferable skills can be learned, for life after service.

Equally, it allows us to celebrate that many UK companies, like Sheffield Forgemasters, welcome ex-services personnel into the workplace, helping to make the big transition back into civilian life, so much less stressful or fearful.