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US award for Royal Navy officer

2 February 2018
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A senior Royal Navy officer from Cumbria/Plymouth has been recognised by the United States for outstanding work leading a multi-national task force in the Gulf.

Royal Navy Commodore William J. Warrender has been awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious service as the deputy commander, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), from March 2015 to June 2017 during a ceremony at the Pentagon December 6th 2017.

The award was presented by Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, commander of the CMF during Commodore Warrender's time as deputy commander.

Vice Admiral Donegan, who is now serving as the director of Navy Staff at the Pentagon, said: “Commodore Warrender set the standard on how to best employ multinational assets across 2.5 million square miles of international waters.

“Through his dedicated leadership, task forces were able to protect the free flow of commerce, improve maritime security and to deter illicit activity in the CMF area of operations. Will, thank you for your superb leadership of this multi-national task force."

Commodore Warrender's recommendation and approval for the award were based on his critical leadership and oversight of maritime operations during an exceptionally complex and challenging period as an “innovative leader, brilliant tactician and dynamic maritime commander” according to an action memorandum signed by the Secretary of Defence James Mattis. 

I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States.

Commodore Warrender

As deputy commander CMF, he was responsible for providing maritime security and while strengthening the maritime capabilities and interoperability of Gulf partner nations.

As a direct result of his engaged leadership, there are 32 member nations actively combining efforts to thwart violent extremism and terrorist networks in the CMF area of operations through maritime security, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and counter-narcotics operations.

Commodore Warrender, grew up in Kendal in Cumbria and attended Queen Katherine Secondary School, now lives in Plymouth and is currently attending the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. The 49—year-old is on promotion to Rear Admiral and will take over as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), based in Plymouth in June.

He said: “I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded the Legion of Merit by the United States.

"As with any many occasions when individuals are recognised, this medal is a direct reflection of the superb men and women who worked so hard to maintain maritime security and stability across 2.5 million square miles of ocean In the Gulf region.”

The Legion of Merit, the first United States decoration created specifically for award to citizens of other nations, was established by an Act of Congress of July 20, 1942, amended by an executive order of March 15, 1955.

The reverse of the medal has the motto taken from the Great Seal of the United States "ANNUIT COEPTIS" (He [God] Has Favoured Our Undertakings) and the date "MDCCLXXXII" (1782) which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart.

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