Commodore Martin Connell has today has assumed command of the Commander United Kingdom Task Group (COMUKTG) – taking over the reins from Commodore Jerry Kyd.
A former captain of HMS Illustrious, Cdre Connell will be responsible for commanding the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group – a high readiness force of ships, submarines and Royal Marines.
The RFTG is designed to respond to rapidly unfolding world crises. It has been activated twice in recent years – in 2011 HMS Ocean sailed to assist in the international response to the Libya crisis and in 2013 HMS Illustrious took tonnes of aid to the Philippines following a devastating typhoon.
Each year the RFTG deploys on an annual series of exercises called Cougar where the Royal Navy works alongside partner nations for four months, testing and maintaining its warfighting skills.
Last year the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark provided the command platform for the RFTG, working in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, and Horn of Africa.
As COMUKTG, Cdre Connell usually exercises command of the RFTG from afloat in the Fleet Flagship. He will command thousands of Royal Navy sailors, submariners, and airmen who will be part of the RFTG.
From March the COMUKTG title will also be changed to Commander Amphibious Task Group – COMATG – demonstrating the core role provided by the RFTG.
Cdre Jerry Kyd has already been named as the future commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth – the first of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers.
The second carrier – HMS Prince of Wales has, like her sister ship, been built at shipyards around the UK and is now being assembled at Rosyth. Together the pair will revive the Royal Navy’s carrier strike capability and will provide the future flagships of the nation.
Image: US Navy