AN EASTBOURNE sailor has spoken of her excitement at protecting Olympians as they vied for gold medals.
Five months ago Emma Reeve was in the icy wilderness of the Arctic Circle, but during the 2012 Olympic Games she was keeping watch with HMS Bulwark off Weymouth.
The 24-year-old had a prime view of the action through high-powered binoculars as she scanned the waters for security threats.
The former Ratton School student, whose parents Maggie and Martyn still live in Eastbourne, was a bit envious of the competitors – she was a water sports instructor before joining the navy.
Able Seaman Reeve said, “This was a unique opportunity to be part of the historic event, helping with the security for the 2012 sailing Olympics in Weymouth Bay and Portland harbour.
“I’ve been deployed with HMS Bulwark for two years now and have travelled to Norway, Poland and Germany on military exercises,” she said.
“But I never imagined we’d be fully operational right here off the coast of Dorset.”
HMS Bulwark is the Royal Navy’s flagship and was primarily built to carry hundreds of Royal Marines for amphibious assaults.
However, the ship can carry out a range of tasks including her current job as a command headquarters for the security operation protecting Weymouth.
Emma duties as a Sea Specialist involve watch-keeping on the bridge of Bulwark, sweeping her eyes around the protected sailing arena and the vicinity of the ship.
She also drives the ship’s sea boat as the Coxswain and takes the helm of the mighty flagship under the instructions of the Ship’s Navigator and Officer of the Watch.
She said, “I always get a buzz from driving the sea boat, the tasks we carry out include laying or lifting target marker buoys, ferrying passengers and conducting man overboard drills.”
Hundreds of sailors were involved in the defence contribution to security during the London Olympics.
While HMS Bulwark is off Weymouth, the largest ship in the fleet, HMS Ocean, is based in central London.