UK: Royal Navy Reservists Help HMS Monmouth
HMS Monmouth has welcomed onboard 18 Royal Naval Reservists as temporary members of her Ship’s Company as she continues her return to the UK at the end of a 7 month deployment.
The invitation for invaluable onboard sea time was extended by Commanding Officer, Cdr Gordon Ruddock RN, to fill the gaps of personnel who had taken advanced leave prior to the ship return to home port in May.
The opportunities of such an invitation were not to be missed, and a diverse team of 3 Young Officers, 2 Senior and 13 Junior Ratings were selected from a list of eager volunteers from various RNR units across the UK.
Embarking in Cyprus, the reservists, most of whom had little or no experience of serving on an operational warship, had to adapt quickly to life onboard.
They were fallen straight into the duty rosters and had to pull their weight throughout their 2 week stay doing the jobs they had been trained to do.
Simultaneously, they got stuck into a structured program of branch and whole ship training to develop their skills and make the most of their experience, prior to leaving the ship in Gibraltar. Commander Gordon said;
“It has been great having the reservists onboard for the past 2 weeks.
“They have integrated quickly into my Ship’s Company and been eager to practice their trades as well as learn new skills and get first hand experience of how a front line ship operates. Without them onboard doing their jobs I would not have been able to send some of my people home early”.
Ratings from the Reserve Warfare, MTO, Communications and Logistics branches worked alongside their regular RN branch counterparts both at sea and alongside during shore stops.
The 3 Young Officers, all Acting Sub Lieutenants, were also kept busy completing task books and gaining ship experience and department knowledge from the Black Duke’s Officers and Senior Ratings.
Chief Petty Officer Peter Gilmour, from HMS Vivid in Plymouth and Petty Officer Duane Heal, from HMS Flying Fox in Bristol, an ex-Royal Navy Leading Missileman and diver, were the 2 Senior Ratings supervising the juniors.
“This sort of opportunity for periods of training and experience at sea in a frontline ship are very rare for us as reservists” said Duane, a reservist since 2009.
“So with the help of all levels of the Ship’s Company, we are making sure that our team is utilising every minute to gain experience and knowledge which will prove invaluable as they progress through their reserve careers.”
“We are very grateful to Commander Ruddock and all members of HMS Monmouth’s Ship’s Company for welcoming us onboard, and taking the time to help our team make the most of our time here”, he continued.
“I hope this is the first of many similar extended sea training opportunities for reservists in the future.”
The Plymouth-based warship is returning from a 7 month deployment to the Gulf region as part of an international effort to deter piracy and smuggling, taking her turn to provide the standing commitment to Maritime security in the region which the Royal Navy has maintained for over 30 years.
After handing over the duty to fellow Welsh affiliated warship HMS Dragon in April, she returns to the UK on 17 May just days before she celebrates her 20th year of service.
Press Release, May 10, 2013; Image: Royal Navy