Next generation of maritime warfighter

Published on ABIS Bonny Gassner (author), LSIS Jayson Tufrey (photographer), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Principal Warfare Officer student Lieutenant Tavis Knack, in the operations room onboard HMAS Melbourne, during Warfare Assessment Week. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Principal Warfare Officer student Lieutenant Tavis Knack, in the operations room onboard HMAS Melbourne, during Warfare Assessment Week.

Following a very successful Unit Readiness work up, HMAS Melbourne was back in action recently supporting the warfare assessment week – a critical point in the career continuum for both maritime warfare officers and combat system sailors.  

The warfare students spent considerable time honing their maritime war-fighting skills in a simulated environment at the HMAS Watson School of Maritime Warfare. However, it is the week the students spend embarked in a real warship that brings the theory of the classroom to reality and ultimately confirms the students as qualified Principal Warfare Officers, Combat System Supervisors or Air and Anti Submarine Aircraft Controllers. 

Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Alee-Marie Scarfone on the Gun Direction Platform of HMAS Melbourne, alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney, NSW.

Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Alee-Marie Scarfone on the Gun Direction Platform of HMAS Melbourne, alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney, NSW.

The students are assessed in all aspects of maritime warfare from anti-submarine to surface and air. The real pressures of an operations room are applied with Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne Commander Bill Waters presiding over each serial.

"It’s a privilege to be the lead ship for such an important phase of training for these officers and sailors. They have the benefit of a fully worked-up warship and it’s a great opportunity to further refine the skills of our ship’s company,” Commander Waters said. 

For student Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Alee-Marie Scarfone and Principal Warfare Officer student, Lieutenant Tavis Knack, the warfare assessment week meant returning home. Lieutenant Knack was previously posted to HMAS Melbourne as the Assistant Principal Warfare Officer and Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Scarfone the ship's Anti Submarine Aircraft Controller. 

“It is good to be back on board and see a lot of familiar faces. All the Principal Warfare Officer students are fortunate to being working with an operations team recently assessed to the unit ready standard,” Lieutenant Knack said.

The qualified students will all soon find their way back into the fleet and the experience gained in HMAS Melbourne put to good use. HMAS Melbourne continues to prepare for a scheduled upcoming deployment.