UK: Second Sea Lord Hands Over His Post
The Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery has left the Naval Headquarters in Portsmouth for the final time, handing over his post to Vice Admiral David Steel. In his final address to the Naval and civilian staff based at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, he said it had been an honour and a privilege to serve alongside them for the past two-and-a-half years.
In a farewell message sent Fleet-wide, he said:
“I leave the Service tomorrow after serving as Second Sea Lord for 27 months. It has been an extraordinary period by any measure, not least for the men and women of the service and our families.
“You have made an immensely successful and unrelenting contribution to the nation’s security and its wider interests.
“Indeed, I would assess the summer of 2011 as the most operationally active – person for person, unit for unit – of my 39 years in the Service.
“And this year’s commitments have seen not only our ongoing contribution to operations but also to the success of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Olympics and Paralympics.
“In all this you have maintained the proud reputation of our service, founded on our enduring core values.
“Leadership and teamwork have been fundamental to success, as has that unique sense of humour – often shining through adversity – that is central to our ethos.
“Much of this adversity has been driven by the wider economic downturn. Pay restraint, the uncertainty surrounding pension reform, reduction in allowances and two tranches of redundancy have challenged us all.
“I have seen a very mature understanding of the circumstances that drive this austerity. I know it has been really difficult for you and your families and I am truly grateful for your fortitude.
“On top of this, churn has increased.
“Addressing this has been my number one short term issue; and measures to reduce churn will kick in over the next 12 months.
“As I sign off I reflect on the Navy I joined in 1973. It, too, had just undergone a major drawdown – resulting in a service of, for example to 102,000 people and 70 destroyers and frigates.
“By 2015 we will have drawn down to 19 DD/FF and 30,000 people. Whilst we are much smaller we are every bit as relevant, much more engaged on live operations and with hugely improved capability, including the capability represented by our single most valuable asset, our people.
“If I could have had the choice, I would have joined today’s Service rather than the one I entered and be part of its exciting future – Carriers, Fast jets, Successor, Wildcat/Merlin, T45, T26, Astute included.
“There are plenty of challenges to confront too, but I am confident we will – and successfully
“As I hand over to Vice Admiral David Steel, I offer my profound thanks and congratulations for all you have done for our Service and my very best wishes for the future.”
Naval Today Staff, October 11, 2012; Image: RN