American military chief hails HMS Queen Elizabeth 'the best ship he has ever been on'

ENVIOUS American top brass have admitted the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth is one of the world’s ‘nicest ships to serve on’.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 8:35 pm

Colonel Simon Doran, the senior American officer on board the aircraft carrier, said his team of about 250 US personnel were loving life on board the £3.2bn warship.

The mighty 65,000-tonne vessel – the largest built for the Royal Navy – has 10 F-35s from the United States Marine Corps embarked on it for its 28-week mission to the Far East.

Speaking to The News ahead of the ship’s deployment from Portsmouth, Col Doran admitted: ‘Being on a British carrier like HMS Queen Elizabeth is extremely nice. Don’t tell anybody back home but it is probably the nicest ship I have been on.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Colonel Simon Doran, the senior American military official serving with the US Marine Corps on board HMS Queen Elizabeth during her carrier strike deployment. Photo: Tom Cotterill

‘I have never been on a Royal Navy ship before but I have served alongside British ships for almost 25 years now. So to actually start the deployment with the United Kingdom is something very, very special.

‘And as the senior American on board, I can tell you all of our marines and sailors are quite honoured to get to do this deployment with the sons and daughters of the United Kingdom.’

The aircraft carrier is the only type in the world designed specifically to operate the new F-35 stealth jet.

And Col Doran said the ship was one that the US Marine Corps pilots and aircrew had already fallen in love with – and were eager to take to the skies from its flight deck on operations.

‘They love it, it’s a very, very large flight deck and it is enjoyable to operate from a ship that was designed from the ground up to operate the F-35,’ he said.

‘I think it brings something unique and new to our operational environment that we’re all going to learn from and I think we’re really going to enjoy this deployment and the lessons we’re going to bring back from this.’

Looking for the latest Royal Navy updates from Portsmouth? Join our new Royal Navy news Facebook group to keep up to date.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The News is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news online - as well as our new Puzzles section.