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Surface warfare badges awarded to RN personnel in Belgium

Capt Gordon Ruddick received his pin from Cdre Tim Henry
25 January 2021
Eight Royal Navy personnel serving with NATO in Belgium have been awarded Surface Warfare Badges.

The group, who all currently serve at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), received their awards from Commodore Tim Henry, the senior RN officer at the HQ.

Six officers received a gold pin – for those who’ve held positions of command or served as executive officers – with two Principal Warfare Officers meriting the silver pin.

RN staff at the base have commanded numerous Royal Navy ships, and have 16 years of sea command between them.

Among the officers to receive their gold pin was Captain Gordon Ruddock (pictured), who is currently leading work on designing NATO’s response to the modern missile threat facing the alliance.

While all political decisions are made in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, SHAPE is the alliance’s sole military strategic headquarters and is located in the southern Belgian city of Mons.

The UK currently has 109 positions in the SHAPE HQ itself, plus other units based on the site, raising the UK military footprint to 230 personnel. 

The Navy fills 55 of those billets, split almost exactly 50:50 between officers and ratings. This number is set to increase with UK’s increasing commitment to NATO in the coming years.

The roles available to RN personnel at SHAPE are many and varied and offer a vital insight into operations away from the maritime, working with 29 other nationalities at the heart of Europe. 

The jobs range from leading NATO’s strategic planning and operations, through staff officers to logistics branch personnel in the support elements.  There is also a strong cohort of CIS personnel that support the NATO communications networks.

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