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Senior US officer promotes HMS Diamond’s Jonty during Red Sea mission

Senior US officer promotes HMS Diamond’s Jonty during Red Sea mission
28 December 2023
Scores of junior officers are promoted from sub-lieutenant to lieutenant every year. It’s a key moment in an individual’s career… but nothing unusual in the bigger picture.

Unless it take places on active operations. On Christmas Eve. On a US warship. In front of all the crew. And presided over by a task force commander.
Step forward Lieutenant Jonty Paul Sutton, who received his new epaulettes aboard Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Mason on the newly-established Operation Prosperity Guardian from Captain David Coles, the senior US Navy officer directing that operation.

Jonty is assigned to the guided missile destroyer as a liaison officer from HMS Diamond, also conducting the same mission in the Red Sea: protecting international shipping from missiles and drones launched by Houthi rebels in Yemen, especially around the Bab-al-Mandeb narrows.
Having joined the Royal Navy aged 20, Jonty reached the rank of chief petty officer before being selected for warfare officer.

He’s now seeking to qualify as an officer of the watch by completing 600 hours on the bridge.
Aboard the Mason, he’s experienced the daily life of US sailors and observed routine operations in the pilot house, combat information center (ops room), engineering spaces and flight deck, sharing his personal experiences along the way.

“It was a distinct privilege to pin the rank of lieutenant on Jonty Sutton,” said Captain Coles. “Lieutenant Sutton’s expertise and his 26 years of experience in the Royal Navy have been vital to Operation Prosperity Guardian’s success. It was truly an honour for Combined Task Force 153 and me to take part in this special day for our coalition teammate.”

Combined Task Force 153 is one of several groups operating under the banner of the Bahrain-based.

Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of nearly 40 like-minded nations committed to curbing illegal activity from Suez to the western seaboard of India and the Gulf to the Seychelles, ensuring the safe and secure passage of merchant shipping.

CTF153’s Operation Prosperity Guardian – which began shortly before Christmas - represents a focused, international effort to address maritime security challenges in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and is already supported by more than 20 countries.

“Multiple countries being present highlights that this is a world issue and shows all of our commitment to reassuring and protecting merchant ships,” Jonty said.

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