Britain has a new professional head of the Naval Service.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones takes over as the UK’s senior sailor from Admiral Sir George Zambellas, who steps down after 35 years of service.
Admiral Jones joined the Navy in 1978, saw action in the Falklands War aboard HMS Fearless and commanded the frigates HMS Beaver and HMS Coventry. He’s one of the few veterans of the 1982 conflict still in the Senior Service. He said:
"We owe Sir George a huge debt of gratitude; through this vision and leadership, the Royal Navy’s credibility has been strengthened immeasurably, and with it our self-belief; it is a legacy that will stand the test of time.
"In these uncertain times, the Royal Navy continues to protect our nation’s interests at home and around the world. In the years ahead, the introduction of the two largest aircraft carriers in our history will change the Royal Navy entirely. "
"Our sailors and marines are the best in the world. With the support of our civil servants and our families, I will use all my energy and experience to lead them to success.
"Together, we will make the most of our opportunities, and address our challenges head-on, as we ready ourselves for this exciting new era of British sea power."
Admiral Jones began his previous post as Fleet Commander in 2013 when he was serving as a Vice Admiral, which saw him oversee the day-to-day operations of the Naval Service.
Admiral Zambellas handing over to Admiral Jones on HMS Victory
During his three-year spell in charge, Admiral Jones will see the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service.
Her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, will begin sea trials and the fifth generation jet aircraft, the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, will operate from a Royal Navy ship for the first time.
Admiral Zambellas formally handed over command of more than 30,000 men and women, nearly 90 warships, nuclear submarines and support vessels, the helicopters and jets of the Fleet Air Arm and the elite naval infantry of the Royal Marines, in the great cabin of the world’s oldest commissioned warship, HMS Victory.
The ceremony was attended by the head of the US Navy, Admiral John Richardson, and US Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft, and France’s Senior Naval officer, Admiral Bernard Rogel.
Admiral Zambellas joined the Royal Navy in September 1980 and served as a Sea King pilot before commanding three warships, including HMS Chatham which saw action during operations in Sierra Leone.
As First Sea Lord he has overseen the ongoing programme to deliver the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review.
As his flag was lowered onboard HMS Victory, Admiral Zambellas said:
"It has been an enormous honour to lead the Royal Navy. The Senior Service has always played an important role in the UK’s defence and security. Now it has a leading role."
"This strategic responsibility will be delivered because the Navy is full of brilliant people – sailors, marines, civilians, and their supportive families. They have a fantastic future ahead of them, as they grow their Navy's capability and ambition. If I could, I'd join them all over again."
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