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    British Forces Change Command onboard NSF Diego Garcia

    BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY

    02.19.2021

    Story by Seaman Apprentice Mariterese Merrique 

    U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia

    DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory (Feb. 19, 2021) – Commander British Forces, British Indian Ocean Territory, and Commissioner’s Representative Strategic Command conducted a change of command ceremony Feb. 19, 2021.
    Commander Steven R. Drysdale relieved Commander Kay Burbidge as Royal Navy Commander British Forces and Commissioner’s Representative.
    The ceremony had limited attendance for health protection measures and took place at NSF Diego Garcia’s Officers’ Club.
    “Thank you to my whole team,” said Burbidge. “Due to Coronavirus restrictions, we can’t have everyone here that I would want to have, but I want them to still know how proud I am of their achievements. We’re small in number, but we have a great deal of responsibility across the territory.”
    When Burbidge returns to the United Kingdom, she will take up her new role as Surface Flotilla’s Commander Air, responsible for Maritime Ship-Air integration.
    “I’d like to thank Commander Kay for all she’s done and achieved in nearly two years on the island. It’s certainly not what you envisaged when you signed up for this,” said Drysdale. “With Coronavirus coming on so it’s been very, very different with lack of travel and everything else that would have been part of your normal. So the fact that you’ve achieved everything you’ve done with the grace and humor despite being locked on this island for two years is absolutely remarkable. Thank you very much.”
    Drysdale said he has fond memories of Diego Garcia. He visited the island 25 years ago in the middle of a nine-month deployment as a junior officer on a submarine.
    “I’m really looking forward to a year or so of being here and actually getting to see the island,” said Drysdale. “It is unique in the world. Never did I expect to come back as Brit Rep, but here I am. It’s a great privilege to have been appointed to the most diverse roles in the UK armed forces.”
    In the UK, Drysdale lives with his wife Katherine in South Wales and spends his spare time taking his daughter and her horse to competitions. He also explores the terrain with his two Labradors.
    He joined Britannia Royal Naval College in September 1984 and volunteered to serve in Submarines after the completion of initial officer training in 1987. He served in a variety of Submarine appointments including Communications Officer of a Polaris SSBN, Navigating Officer of an Oberon Class submarine and watch leader of two nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarines before selection for the Submarine Command Course called “Perisher” in 1997.
    Drysdale has served as Executive Officer of a Trident SSBN and joined Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) as the Tomahawk Strike Coordinator in 2000. He also served as the Operations and Exercises Staff Officer in Commander Submarines NATO and as the Commander Cruise Missile Support Activity. He received the Joint Force Commanders Team award in 2018 which resulted in his appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list in 2019.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.19.2021
    Date Posted: 02.23.2021 05:14
    Story ID: 389584
    Location: IO

    Web Views: 30
    Downloads: 0

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