Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Joseph Dransfield

Military Professor: Royal Navy

Alumnus Joseph graduated with a degree in Physical Education, Sports Science and Physics in 1997. Joseph joined the Royal Navy’s Officer training academy shortly after graduating, which opened the door to a successful military career.

Why did you choose to study Physical Education, Sports Science and Physics at Loughborough University?

I was looking for a course that combined academic credibility and something that I was passionate about, and the Physics and Sports Science joint honours course was a perfect match. the fact that Loughborough also offered a lively campus setting and world-class sports facilities sealed the deal for me. 

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

It was a time of growing up and working out who you are. I’m certain that much of the character that has carried me through my career, and adult life so far, was forged at Loughborough. Not to mention the lifelong friends that I made, who are still my first port of call for advice or to bounce ideas off.

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?

The intra-hall sports were great fun and really built bonds in the halls of residence. The extra-curricular experience that stood out was the time I spent with the East Midland University Officer Training Corps (OTC). The OTC offered an amazing introduction to the Armed Forces, great friendships and loads of opportunities for adventure (climbing, sailing, skiing etc.).

Can you tell us about your career journey so far?

Shortly after graduating, I was offered a place at the Royal Navy’s Officer training academy. After a year of Basic Officer Training, including some initial training at sea in a Frigate, I undertook flying training. After receiving my Wings, I was assigned to the Lynx maritime attack helicopter and spent the early part of my career flying from RN Frigates and Destroyer around the globe, this included several tours in the Arabian Gulf and operations in Iraq.  After that, I was selected as an instructor and helped to teach and mentor the next crop of RN helicopter aircrew. 

In 2007, I took command of HMS Portland Flight and led an amazing team through an exciting and challenging anti-piracy and counter-narcotics mission in the Indian Ocean region. Since then I have directed the procurement of a missile system, commanded a high readiness response unit and served as second in command of the UK’s largest rotary wing squadron.

More recently, I was posted to Norway to work as an operational planning instructor at NATO’s warfare training headquarters.  I was then fortunate to be selected as the UK’s candidate to attend the US Navy’s Senior Leadership Course. A year-long master’s level programme in National Security and Strategy at the US Navy’s War College in Newport, Rhode Island.  

What do you love the most about your job?

It was a desire to fly and travel that drew me to the Navy, but it has been the variety of employment and the fantastic people that I have been fortunate to work with that have made it such an enjoyable adventure.

What does the future hold for you?

I’ve been fortunate to be offered a position for the next two years as a Military Professor at the US Navy War College, instructing planning and leadership. From there I hope to return to the UK to command one of the Navy’s Wildcat helicopter squadrons.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

I was immensely proud when I graduated from flying training but have also cherished my recent return to academia. Receiving a master’s degree with distinction, academic prizes for excellence in strategic analysis, future policy development and international leadership was a tremendous honour for myself and my family. We have been exceptionally fortunate and proud to represent the RN and UK in the USA.

Find out more about The Royal Navy online.

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