Army Apaches Integral to HMS Ocean Winning Prestigious Trophy for Second Year Running
HMS Ocean has been awarded a trophy as the Royal Navy’s most effective large ship for 2011, having also won it in 2010. However, this year the award was won with the aid of elements of the Army’s Apache Force.
HMS Ocean has won the 2011 Effectiveness Trophy in two categories ‘Capital Ship’ and ‘Naval Capability’, the latter in conjunction with the Air Group, which included Apaches from the Army Air Corps. The awards recognise the hard work of the ship’s company and the embarked air group during 2011.
Last year HMS Ocean originally deployed to the Mediterranean for a seven week amphibious exercise before being rapidly re-tasked to the coast of Libya as part of the NATO mission to protect civilians. Once there, her Army and Navy helicopters dealt precise blows to the Gaddafi regime with the Apaches flying 49 missions and the Sea King Mk7s completing 99 sorties. There were more than 2,000 deck landings by embarked and visiting aircraft.
HMS Ocean’s Commanding Officer, Captain Andrew Betton said: “It was a huge honour to win the trophy for a second year running and underlines the inherently versatile nature of amphibious ships like HMS Ocean and in particular the capability and flexibility of the sailors and marines serving onboard. “
Also present onboard at the trophy presentation was Major Mike Neville of the Army Air Corps, who commanded the Apaches last year, and Mr Derek Blois, an artist and father of one of the Apache pilots based onboard HMS Ocean. He has painted a picture to commemorate the ship’s involvement with the Libya campaign which was presented to the ship’s officers to hang in the Wardroom.
The main focus for HMS Ocean this summer will be supporting the Olympics. When Army helicopters will again embark when the ship will be based at Greenwich, acting as a base to enhance the existing UK air security arrangements.