This year has seen OOs conduct a wide range of tasks across
the globe in command of our soldiers, sailors and airmen.
From leading our people on operations abroad, to training roles and capability development, the OO contribution to defence is as broad as ever.
Perhaps most unusual for these pages is the contribution made towards the COVID-19 response.
Uniformed OOs have helped coordinate the response across the country as well as Down Under.
A particular highlight in writing the piece this year was the automatic response
I received from one individual notifying me that my email “would not be monitored, forwarded or actioned.”
Whilst I believe he has been deployed somewhere hot and sandy rather than gardening at home,
it certainly made me chuckle! Brig Matt Jackson (G 90) continues to command 3 Commando Brigade.
Since he last wrote, he deployed on Ex Baltic Protector (big Joint Expeditionary Force exercise in the Baltic) in the summer, and then to Norway for Winter Deployment 20 (Jan-Mar).
He re-did his Cold Weather Warfare Course (which included re-conducting his ice-breaking drills!)
and then acted as Commander Land Forces for Ex Cold Response (Norwegian INVITEX).
Since March, his brigade has helped the NHS during C-19, deployed small numbers on Op Broadshare to the Caribbean to support to the Overseas Territories in the event of C-19 overmatch,
and prepared for Op Caribbean – HADR support to the Caribbean OTs in the event of Hurricane strike.
He hands over to his successor on 2 Sep (sad days) and then heads off to RCDS. He bumps into Brig Tony Turner (N 94) and Col Jon Dowd (Lx 90) occasionally.
Col Giles Harris DSO OBE (Ldr 91) has returned from commanding OP CABRIT in Estonia – a happy but challenging two years.
He was honoured to get an OBE on Nov 19 Op Honours list. He is now working as the Chief of Staff in the directorate for Euro-Atlantic Security in the MOD, which is responsible for our contribution to HMG policy on Russia, NATO, EU, and all European bi-lateral relations.
Lt Col Mark Mankowski (Sn 94) found himself commanding an Emergency Support Force assisting the community in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia recover from the devastating bushfires.
He had about a week in March to refit before he had to focus on supporting the federal and state governments respond to COVID19.
As CO of 16 Royal Australian Artillery Regiment, Mark reflects on a mixed year; regret for the host of things in his second year of command that they will not
be able to achieve, but also pride in the tenacity of the men and women he serves with.
He hands over command in December and then will most likely move to Canberra for some staff officer time.
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