Commander of British Naval Task Force Returns to HMS Ocean

Commander of British Naval Task Force Returns to HMS Ocean

The Commander of the British naval task force in Libya last year returned to his flagship to pay homage to some of the sailors, soldiers and marines who distinguished themselves during the conflict.

Commodore John Kingwell ADC visited HMS Ocean to present his personal commendations to twelve Royal Navy, Army and Royal Marines personnel who, in his opinion, represented the highest ideals of their respective services during Operation Ellamy, the name for the UK mission in Libya.

HMS Ocean, currently moored on the Thames as part of the Olympic security operation, was used as a command platform and a base for Army Apache attack helicopters and Royal Navy Sea King helicopters during the Libyan conflict. Along with HMS Liverpool, she was part of the UK’s Response Force Task Group – a rapid reaction force capable of deploying at short notice anywhere in the world.

Captain Andrew Betton, HMS Ocean’s Commanding Officer for both Libya and her Olympic deployment, said:

“Everyone who took part in the operations in Libya should be justifiably proud of what they achieved, and the twelve people honoured today personify everything HMS Ocean and our embarked naval and army air squadrons achieved during a very busy and challenging period.”

Leading Chef Simon ‘Butch’ Butcher (28) was commended after taking over the running of HMS Ocean’s galley at short notice, providing meals to over 900 people three times a day.

He said:

“I feel honoured to accept this award of recognition on behalf of the catering department of HMS Ocean.”

Lieutenant Commander Simon Collins, (35) received an award from Commander Joint Operations for his services to the planning of the aviation campaign, including managing the first instances of Apache launching from a helicopter carrier at sea.

He said:

“I am proud to receive this CJO Commendation as it also serves as recognition for those who worked alongside me. Equally, it highlights the commitment and support that our families and friends gave to us throughout an uncertain operational deployment of the Response Force Task Group.”

Naval Today Staff, August 15, 2012; Image: Royal Navy