UK: Raising Money for Charity Aboard HMS Enterprise
Returning to the UK following a 5-month South Atlantic deployment, HMS Enterprise launched straight into Exercise Joint Warrior with just a short period alongside to replenish stores after the long trip across the pond.
The tedium of a long sea passage can be challenging but where some see tedium, others see opportunity. One of the ship’s Young Officers, S/Lt Stuart Lee RN, saw an opportunity to raise money for the ship’s charity; Primrose Breast Care Centre at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Rather than a regular charity event, Stuart took advantage of his ‘tennis ball’ hair cut and challenged the ship’s company, stating that for every £50 they donated he would wear a Mohawk hair-cut for 3 days, and the individual donating the highest amount could have the honours of shaving said Mohawk into his head.
This challenge was eagerly accepted by several enthusiastic individuals and a bidding war ensued between the Operations Officer and the Engineer, both of whom were suspiciously keen to shave “Subby” Lee’s head (in the end they settled on shaving half each). In total, pledges to S/Lt Lee’s fund raising efforts managed to muster £200, ensuring that he had to keep his Mohawk for the entire 12 day transit from Barbados to Faslane.
Double-takes were everywhere as we saw an officer sporting a Mohawk around the ship, but it was all for a very good cause. Thankfully his follicles grew enough hair for him to return back to a haircut more appropriate to an Officer in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy by the time landfall was made.
The ship’s first stop in the UK was not home port, but HM Naval Base Clyde to allow a brief period alongside to refuel, store ship and embark approx 15 tonnes of various equipment before heading out to Exercise Joint Warrior. This multi-national joint-force exercise is aimed at increasing the level of interoperability of our armed forces with that of our allies. Enterprise’s role in this exercise was to provide a command platform for a Mine Counter Measures Tasking Authority (MCMTA). This time we hosted Commander Otterbu of the Norwegian Navy – Commander Norwegian Mine Counter Measures First Squadron (COMNORMCMSQ1) and his staff.
In addition to providing a command platform, Enterprise has the ability to provide fuel and fresh water to the smaller Mine Warfare ships. During the 10 day period we rafted up to 3 ships at a time, providing diesel and fresh water to Norwegian and German Mine Hunters.
Speaking of the ship after only a brief period on board, Commander Otterbu said,
“HMS Enterprise is a capable platform and is proving to be well suited to hosting a mine counter measure tasking authority. I am very pleased that the refuelling capability is available as it enables me to greatly increase the effectiveness of my mine hunters.”
For the ship’s company the Joint Warrior exercise provided plenty of opportunity to practice closing up at Action Stations to defend the ship from hostile aircraft and fast attack craft as well as fighting fires and stemming floods that could result from damage sustained in the battles.
The exercise also provided the opportunity to trial the REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, operated by the Fleet Mobile Hydrographic Unit, for the first time from this class of ship, as well as housing and operating the Fleet Diving Unit 2 in a mine counter measures role.
Overall, Joint Warrior has been an extremely successful training period for the ship. We managed to achieve a number of ‘firsts’ while participating in a major exercise with several foreign navies. We train as we intend to fight in order to shape all situations to our advantage as winning IS everything.
Naval Today Staff , May 23, 2012; Image: Royal Navy