OA Sword – 2014

Lt Jon Sutcliff Royal Navy – Citation

Lieutenant Jon Sutcliff joined the Projects Team at MWS in June 2013 and quickly exceeded his Terms of Reference by some degree. Through a ground-breaking investigation into the concept of a Planetarium to teach astro-navigation, he was invited to deliver a presentation to an international scientific conference which drew many plaudits for the originality and visual representation of his findings. He also constructed, in his own time and to his own design, a technical demonstrator to deliver alignment training; a task all the more noteworthy for the speed and robustness with which this complex prototype was produced.

Earlier this year, rising water levels in Southern England became a matter of national concern, and on Friday 7 Feb HMS Collingwood was tasked to place 100 sailors on standby for flood defence efforts. A volunteer was needed to lead the detachment and Lt Sutcliff was one of the first to respond. Drawing on experience gained while serving in HMS OCEAN, he advised the Command on equipment and sustainment required, likely tasking and optimum C2 structures.

Photo of Lt Jon Sutcliff being presented with the OA sword by Lieutenant Mike Draper
Lt Jon Sutcliff is presented with the OA sword by Lieutenant Mike Draper

The first detachment was activated that Sunday afternoon and Lt Sutcliff lead them to their first sand-bagging task and then conducted area recces resulting in squads being moved forward to ‘at risk’ locations in anticipation of likely tasking – truly Mission Command. Ensuring his team were back for some well-earned down-time by 0230, Lt Sutcliff then volunteered 4 hours later to be the initial RN Liaison Officer at 145 Brigade HQ in Aldershot who were mobilising for what would become Op PITCHPOLE. Lt Sutcliff stayed at Brigade HQ for a 72hr shift, returning on rotation 3 days later for another long stint. Largely through his influence and persuasive reasoning, the tasking regime for RN augmentees to Op PITCHPOLE was accepted. Despite competing offers of formed units with organic transport from the other services, the RN model of long shifts with fresh teams each day in new locations was heralded as a success.

For his selfless enthusiasm, courageous leadership, jointery and effective delivery, Lt Jon Sutcliff is strongly recommended for the award of the Officers’ Association Sword.