SHE’S had many different uses since she last took to the waves but flying a Stars and Stripes is not something you see every day on HMS Victory.
But that’s what happened when American Cryptologic Technician (Collection) First Class Chris Ramsey re-enlisted on board.
CTR1 Ramsey, who is on an exchange programme with the Royal Navy, joined the US Navy 15 years ago.
But US service regulations mean he had to leave and spend time considering his options before deciding to re-enlist for a further five years.
Consequently the 34-year-old, from Pennsylvania, was read his discharge papers by fellow American Lieutenant James Brown onboard HMS Victory.
Chris then left the ship for his statutory cooling-off period before re-enlisting – as was his intention all along.
A re-enlistment needs to be done in the presence of the US flag so the ceremony was held in the Warrant Officers’ and Senior Rates’ Mess aboard Nelson’s flagship, which has the last ensign from the USS Constitution – the US Navy’s oldest commissioned ship – on display.
Chris was re-enlisted by Commander Roger Noyce, the commanding officer of the Maritime Information Exploitation Group at Fareham’s HMS Collingwood.
The American was joined by his wife, Jessica, and their children Bianca, eight, and Rhys, five, along with colleagues from Collingwood, where he teaches Royal Navy communications technicians, and from RAF Digby in Lincolnshire.
‘My draft in the exchange programme has been unlike anything I’ve done before,’ said Chris, who currently lives in Portsmouth.
‘Being attached to another nation’s navy, even one with ties as close as ours, offers a new perspective on how to approach everything from leadership to conducting operations.’
Chris, who has four US Navy Achievement medals, has served on the USS Cushing, Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii Direct Support (Submarines), Centre for Information Warfare Corry Station in Florida, and the USS Wasp.
His next draft will be to San Antonio in Texas.
Guests at his re-enlistment also enjoyed a tour of HMS Victory, along with a traditional tot of rum. As with both navies, the celebrations were topped off with a cake featuring a fouled anchor and Stars and Stripes.