THE retirement of one of the Navy’s most experienced personnel has ended 75 years of a family connection with the organisation.
Martin Brett has recently retired, after 32 years in the Navy. He joined in 1989 just a year before his father Liam retired in 1990 having served as the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service.
On his retirement last week, Martin had served as the Officer Commanding Shore Operations, based at Haulbowline Naval Base.
He says: “My father joined from CIE in 1947 – just as the Navy was being set up. It was set up in 1946 and he joined in the autumn of 1947.”
He was the first captain of the LE Deirdre and ironically, Martin was the last captain of the same vessel when it was decommissioned from service in 2000.
Martin reflects: “Being in the Navy was like a family business!”
And he said: “Being in the Navy is like having another family.”
He singles out his own involvement in Operation Sophia rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean in recent years as one of the highlights of his career.
Another highlight, he says, was the seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine, valued at €400 million, in an operation targeting a yacht called Dances with Waves off Mizen Head in November 2008.
He says: “That was the highlight of my career as it took 1.5 tonnes of cocaine off the streets.”
He was the tactical commander at sea of the two naval ships involved in the operation.
In 2018, he and two other Naval personnel were honoured for their roles in the operation, known as Seabight. He received a commendation for his role, during a ceremony at Haulbowline Naval Base.