Commodore Keith Blount, Royal Navy
United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander
Keith Blount was educated in the naval port of Plymouth before commencing his career at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1984. Joining as a pilot, he flew Sea King and Gazelle helicopters for the next 10 years, specialising in anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue. He was awarded the Bell Davies trophy as the top student pilot of his year, is a qualified instructor and was a member of the Royal Navy Helicopter Display Team in 1993.
In 1994 he changed commission to focus on ship-borne warfare. The early part of this period included deployments to the Adriatic during Operation Sharp Guard and the Gulf as part of the Royal Navy's Armilla Patrol. During this time he qualified as a Principal Warfare Officer.
He was appointed to his first sea command, the fishery protection vessel HMS ANGLESEY, in 1998. Over the next two years the ship conducted over 300 boardings resulting in numerous detentions of fishing vessels. A return to flying as the Senior Pilot of 820 Sea King squadron was followed by promotion to Commander and selection to command the Type 23 frigate HMS SOMERSET. This appointment included two deployments, principally in support of the Global War on Terrorism, one of them as part of a NATO Task Force.
On completion, he served for Flag Officer Sea Training for over two years as Commander Sea Training and Commander Mobile Sea Training. This involved the delivery of almost 40 periods of sea training to RN and foreign warships in the waters off Plymouth and also training ships between 80 degrees North and the Falklands, and across the globe in every Royal Naval operational theatre.
Promoted to Captain in 2009, he commanded the Iraqi Maritime Task Group on the Al Basrah oil terminal and then served as Chief of Staff to CTF 151, conducting counter piracy in USS ANZIO.
He immediately returned to sea as Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy's helicopter carrier, HMS OCEAN, in 2010. The Ship participated in Exercise Auriga off the US Eastern Seaboard and then sailed to Brazil, returning to the UK via Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde. This included a period participating in the US African Partnership Station initiative. On completion, he served for 6 months as Chief of Staff to the Operational Commander of the EU counter piracy mission, Operation Atalanta.
Blount has completed a number of staff assignments including three periods in the Ministry of Defence, the most recent of which was a two year appointment as Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. A graduate of the Advanced Command and Staff Course, he holds a Master of Arts degree in Defence Studies and was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2011.
He is proud to have been appointed United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander and Deputy Commander Combined Maritime Forces from September 2013.