FOR Lieutenant Commander Adam Titcombe being embedded on a US carrier gave him a career-first – a chance to sail into his home city of Portsmouth.
Lt Cdr Titcombe was part of the team of Royal Navy sailors sent to USS George H.W. Bush to learn skills which will be used in Britain’s own carrier strike group of the future.
But for dad-of-two the opportunity to be on the US ship also gave him a chance to sail into Portsmouth – the first time he had ever do so in his 19-year naval career.
Speaking of the moment he arrived on the city’s coast, Lt Cdr Titcombe said: ‘It was quite stirring. I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that I shed a tear as I was waving from the bridge to my wife and family who were waving the ship in – it being their first time seeing daddy coming home on a ship, albeit a much larger ship than they’re used to.
‘I have been in the navy nearly 20 years and this is the first time in all that time that I have come into a home port on a ship. So for my wife and family to come out and wave me in, albeit on an American ship, was emotional.’
Lt Cdr Titcombe is part of the navy’s carrier strike team – he is in charge of logistics.
His role will see him ensuring the fleet has enough supplies to operate at sea.
He added his time on the US carrier had taught him some valuable lessons – ones he was eager to bring back to the Royal Navy,
‘The biggest difference is that of scale, I’m used to doing this for 232 people on board a Royal Navy frigate,’ he said. ‘Clearly on George H.W. Bush you’ve got 5,000 people so it’s quite a significant challenge.’
Also embedded on the American warship is Southsea aviator, Lieutenant Marian Taylor.
The 30-year-old is the helicopter element co-ordinator for the UK’s carrier strike group. She has been spending her time shadowing her US colleagues on American.
‘I’ve been learning what they do and how they do it,’ she said. ‘For the past week or so we have very much been gearing up for Exercise Saxon Warrior.
‘The biggest challenge is the fact the two countries are separated by a common language – everyone is very positive and aware of the aims of Saxon Warrior and achieving those and working towards that but the most difficult thing is to remember to say “trash” rather than rubbish.’