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Maritime Reserves welcome new leader

Commodore Jo Adey ADC RN takes command of the Maritime Reserves from Commodore Mel Robinson CBE RNR
31 July 2023
The 3,270 men and women who give up their spare time to serve their Navy have a new leader today.

Command of the Maritime Reserves changed hands during a ceremony aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth as Commodore Mel Robinson passed the baton to her successor Commodore Jo Adey.

She took charge of the reserve arm of the Senior Service on the cusp of Covid lockdown in February 2020.

The response to the pandemic saw Maritime Reservists heavily engaged supporting the government and civilian organisations and agencies.

More than 900 Reservists immediately volunteered to help out; those mobilised into full-time and more-time service, blending their military experience with civilian skills, making a tangible difference at a time of national and international crisis, serving as medics, logisticians and liaison officers at home and around the globe.

After the nation settled into a Covid-19, Cdre Mel switched focus to the once-in-a-generation transformation of the Maritime Reserves – comprising 2,496 officers and ratings of the Royal Naval Reserve and 774 green berets in the Royal Marines Reserve.

She has overseen modernising the organisation, replacing structures and processes built around the Cold War with a regional training model which has embraced technology to deliver greater training capacity than ever before.

I’m grateful to Commodore Mel for all the work she’s done to modernise the Maritime Reserves and I’m looking forward to continuing this progress and getting to know the organisation better over the coming weeks and months.

Commodore Jo Adey

Today, through the addition of new fast boats in ‘waterfront hubs’ around the country, Reservists can access hands-on training at a much earlier stage in their career than has been the case for two decades, familiarising themselves with basic seamanship skills.

That allows reservist to seamlessly slip into the ship’s company of a warship at sea – such as Offshore Patrol Vessels, or with the Gibraltar Squadron safeguard the Rock and its waters - operating alongside regular counterparts as soon as they join.

And by digitising administrative processes, reservists can now manage their careers, training courses and pay online through their phones and tablets.

Reflecting on her three years at the helm, the commodore – who has served both the regular and reserve for more than 30 years – said: “I am extremely proud of what Maritime Reservists have achieved together over the past three years – against the backdrop of the most difficult circumstances we’ve faced for a generation; a global pandemic, a demanding fiscal environment, conflict in Europe, the list goes on.

“Reservists met these challenges head on, whilst working with me to deliver a complex change programme on an unprecedented scale – and at pace.

“Serving as Commander of this exceptional part of the Royal Navy has been the highlight of my career, and I wish Commodore Adey, and her husband Richard, every success as she assumes the role of the next Commander of the Maritime Reserves.”

Handing over the ‘chains of office’, Cdre Mel was joined by her husband, Guy – a Vice Admiral who’s the senior UK military representative in the US - daughter Maisie and son Max, who is currently completing his initial officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

Her successor has also served in both the regular and reserves for three decades, joining HMS Calliope in 1993 while studying at Newcastle University.

She’s been a full-time sailor since 2004, serving as a training manager, including being in charge of training at HMS Raleigh turning civilians into sailors, and has recently graduated from the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.

“It’s a real honour to be returning to my roots, coming back as Commander of the Maritime Reserves, to work with the exceptional people who make up the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve,” she said.

I’m grateful to Commodore Mel for all the work she’s done to modernise the Maritime Reserves and I’m looking forward to continuing this progress and getting to know the organisation better over the coming weeks and months.”

Rear Admiral Jude Terry, who has senior leadership responsibility for the Maritime Reserves in her role as Director Personnel and Training, added: “The Maritime Reserves under Commodore Mel’s leadership have built a well-earned reputation for the assured delivery of capability to the Royal Navy.

“From sailors serving in Offshore Patrol Vessels to marines training in the High North, reservists are an integral and integrated part of the Naval Family and I am grateful for her pivotal role in making that happen.  As she completes her 30 year career, I wish Mel and her family every success for the future.

Adm Terry continued: “Commodore Jo’s return to the Maritime Reserves demonstrates the utility and opportunity of the zig zag career pathway.

“She has built a strong pedigree in People and Training, including a role right at the forefront of training at HMS Raleigh. Having spent the past 12 months broadening her awareness and understanding of higher defence issues as a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, I’m delighted that Commodore Jo is back in the Reserve family and very much looking forward to working with her to support the Maritime Reserves as the organisation goes from strength to strength.”

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