British and American battlefield medics practised their wartime interoperability aboard HMS Ocean.

A specialist US medical team joined the helicopter carrier for the casualty drill while the vessel is leading Task Force 50.

Commodore Andrew Burns, the Royal Navy’s Commander Amphibious Task Group, has taken charge of the US task force while currently embarked on HMS Ocean. Commodore Burns said:

“Together we have had an enduring Royal Navy and US Navy presence in this region that has contributed to stability, order on the high seas and freedom of navigation, and ensured the free flow of commerce, so vital to the prosperity of our nations.”

The 21,000 tonne vessel is an amphibious assault ship and landing platform helicopter. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.

It is understood she has been chosen due to her command and control capabilities, rather than aviation capabilities as the role will largely be co-ordination of operations and the fleet itself.

Task force medical advisor Lt Spike Hughes said:

“The scenario may be an exercise, and the casualties may be volunteers, but the responses and reactions have to be perfect.”

Chief Petty Officer Medical Assistant Tim Johnston said:

“We are your GP, your paramedic, your nurse. We provide gold-standard care as a rule. It has to be gold-standard. You need the men and women to have confidence in our ability to provide them with the very best care –- they deserve that.”

The Americans were reportedly delighted with the hosts – and the medical equipment aboard. Lt Col Neva Vanderschaegen USAF said:

“Our main training aim was to explore the viability of operating from this type of ship and deal with patients using the facilities on board. This I am pleased to say was very successful.”


  1. HMS Ocean has just had a multi-million pound refit supposed to be enabling her to be retained in service until 2023 at least.
    Problem is the RN does not have the manpower to run HMS Ocean and the QE carriers- so instead of uplifting manpower by 1000-2000 personnel which the RN was hoping for in the 2015 SDSR the RN is told it is going to scrap HMS ocean in 2018 (utter madness).
    Another capable platform and warship lost.
    Instead we are going to retrofit HMS Prince of Wales as a stand in Landing helicopter platform.
    So we are thinking this is strategically OK to send a £3billion strike carrier into close in-shore waters to perform this task instead of standing off and providing a protective air-cover and deep strike capability with F35B and Merlin Crowsnest. HMS Ocean needs to be retained until 2023 at least- uplift RN manpower to allow her retention.
    Seems simple logic to me- put a vessel with a value of less than £200 million into a risky inshore amphibious landing situation rather than a £3billion strike carrier. Also plan for HMS ocean’s replacement- £500 million will fund that. If we do not have enough money as a country to do this why are we giving £11billion a year away in foreign aid? Can we have some common sense principles and cut foreign aid by at least 50% to fund our NHS, Social Care and reequip and repair the damage to our armed forces of years of decline
    Enough is enough- the MOD needs to get a grip on reality- we have suffered too many defence cuts.

  2. As a lifelong Tory and proud of what we salvaged from the very dark days of 2010 and sad we had to make the sacrifices we did just to survive I am utterly ashamed of how we just just dispose of very useful ships like Ocean and anything else like ‘Its OK we can buy more’ when we can’t. How useful would our GR9 Harriers be right now for the new carriers had we mothballed them (say in Nevada) rather than break them up and sell them for a round of drinks to the USMC? The Yanks mothball everything and then bring it back into use. From WWII Battleships to Abrams tanks to F-18 Hornets!

    And to make it worse we allow foreigners to make money scrapping UK Taxpayer funded ships! Seeing our last three carriers in Turkey just turned my guts over. At least set up a disposal yard here where British people are employed recycling British owned kit! Or is even that a technology too far?

    I recently had a meeting with my MP (who happens also to be a Government Minister) about this and other matters and it was a total waste of time. They live on another planet.

  3. Cheap, reliable, taken every task asked of her in stride even those not designed for. Been the real flagship of RN for what seems like decades.

    We should scrap her with no replacement.

    Can I get a promotion and gold plated pension for my sound tactical and financial planning now?

  4. Transfer Ocean to the Depart of International Development £12 billion budget and designate it as a disaster relief resource. Such as responding to the next Ebola outbreak. This would be a far more valuable use of the overseas aid budget than funding an Ethiopian girl band which received £4 MILLION of the £9.2 planned. Or alternatively stop the aid to India, which must have plenty of cash given that they have funded their own space defence centre and buy a new replacement for Ocean.

  5. Foreign aid examples are worse than that.
    India is now building new aircraft carriers, destroyers and SSNs in larger numbers then we can afford and yet last year they received £1 billion in uk aid! Just madness. The UK must be the laughing stock of the entire world. We could build 2 ships more capable than HMS Ocean as replacements for the equivalent of 1 years foreign aid budget to India alone.
    Can we get a campaign going to save HMS Ocean until 2023 (her end of service date planned after her last multi million pound deep refit)? Any campaign to save her needs to also push for her replacement ( something like HMAS Canberra would be fine)
    Not sure the MOD can even say they have an amphibious ready group without a LPHD like hms ocean in service. How are you going yo get the troops ashore? By landing craft (slow and able to be easily targeted) or by helicopter (fast deployment and able to rapidly land enough troops to secure beacheads to allow landing craft to come in).
    I wish some of our politicians would wake up to the perilous state of out national defences.


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