The Captain’s words two days ago after 4 weeks of hard work from the Ship’s Company getting the Ship into the correct material state to under go training. The engineering problems that we suffered before the summer had come back to haunt us in our preparations for training. The Ship’s Company responded to the criticism with vigour, and resolved to correct the defects that were present within our systems. The statement ‘worked hard’ doesn’t even come close to encapsulating the effort every member of Ship’s Company put in to get RICHMOND ready. Early mornings, late nights, additional sea time, lost weekends, missed family and friends – all those indicators that this is a life style, a commitment, and not a job.
We will now undertake Operational Sea Training (OST) under the scrupulous guidance of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST). The mere mention of the acronym FOST to any member of the Royal Navy seems to send shivers down their spine. Their standards are absolute, if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t right, as well they should be. This is the training that all HM Warships undertake so as to prepare them to respond to any threats to the United Kingdom and her allies. The Royal Navy has prided itself over centuries of being an elite fighting force in name and deed, HMS RICHMOND and her Ship’s Company intends to keep up that fine tradition. The next several weeks will be a learning experience with rigorous ongoing training of internal drills as well as simulated attacks to the ship from land, sea and air.
My part in all of this will be to drive the ship, and her routine, from the bridge. I work as part of a team of 4, rotating to ensure that bridge is constantly manned while the ship is at sea. One of the additional responsibilities that I hold is as the Ship’s Boarding Officer. This is a role that I enjoy but am fairly new to having only just finished the initial training recently. I have been trained to lead a team away from the ship and conduct inspections and searches of other vessels upon the high seas. This is a task that is physically demanding on those involved but necessary if we are called on to do so in the line of duty.
The general feeling on board is now one of relief, that we are cleared to continue, and anticipation, of what lies ahead. It will be difficult, and it will be bloody (metaphorically), and we will prevail.
Ben Manktelow, LT RN