Navy bids farewell to Admiral Schoultz


The South African Navy bid farewell to Rear Admiral Philip Schoultz in traditional naval style on Thursday morning when a mini fleet review was held for the outgoing Flag Officer Fleet (FOF) at the Simon’s Town dockyard.

Schoultz, who has held the position of FOF since November 2010, retires on January 31 after serving with distinction in a career spanning 42 years in uniform. Prior to his appoint as FOF, Schoultz spent seven years at SANDF Joint Operations where he was Chief Director: Operations.

Having joined the Navy in 1972, his initial sea appointments were on the minesweeper SAS Pretoria, the destroyer SAS Jan van Riebeeck and the frigate SAS President Kruger. He then spent considerable time with the strike craft flotilla which included a lengthy weapons course in Israel.

At the end of 1978 he was transferred to naval headquarters where he held six different positions before moving to Joint Operations. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in Military Sciences at the Military Academy in 1975, Schoultz subsequently obtained a Diploma in Business Science and a Diploma in Organisational Development.

On his second last day in uniform, Shoultz boarded the Admiral’s Barge and was escorted around Simon’s Town naval dockyard, with each navy vessel saluting the Admiral with cheers as he went past.

Speaking to defenceWeb, Schoultz remarked that he had no regrets in terms of his work and career chosen. “The only regret is that it is over so soon,” he said, “if I could I’d do it over again.”

Schoultz went on to say that “a career in the military is extremely fulfilling,” and that he could not have asked for better career, considering the places he visited, people he met and the members he commanded.

Having served as weapons officer aboard the strike craft SAS Jan Smuts and as operations officer aboard SAS Hendrik Mentz, Shoultz took over command of SAS Oswald Pirow. He also served as training and personnel officer for the flotilla. Thus it is no surprise that he thinks his time at sea with the strike craft flotilla “was one long ten year highlight, working with an extremely professional group of people.”

Another highlight was his time with the Joint Operations Division. This, he said, was of importance for the country, expanding South Africa’s footprint into Africa and bringing stability to other countries.

As in the circle of life, Schoultz recognised the significance of ending his career where he started, with ships and the people that go to sea.
“One leaves with a sense of satisfaction and also leaves with a sense it is time to go and hand over the watch to the next generation” was his pragmatic approach to his retirement.

Rear Admiral (JG) Bravo Mhlana will be promoted to full Rear Admiral and become the senior officer of the SA Navy fleet, taking over from Schoultz, at a Change of Command Parade to be held at Simon’s Town this Friday.

So any parting words to his successor? “Be true to yourself,” was the diplomatic reply, “Be true to your country and to those who serve and command.”

Schoultz is also looking forward to spending time with his family who had supported him during his career.