Outstanding North Queensland Navy people celebrated

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cairns

Topic(s): HMAS Cairns, HMAS Leeuwin (A245), HMAS Wollongong (P92), ADV Cape Fourcroy (310), HS BLUE Crew, Pakistan Shield - Minor, Endeavour Shield, Sarawak Shield, Silver Platter - Minor, Duke of Gloucester's Cup

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, presents the Sarawak Shield to Commanding Officer of Hydrographic Ship Blue Crew, Lieutenant Commander Dean Battilana, RAN, during his visit to HMAS Cairns. (photo: LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, presents the Sarawak Shield to Commanding Officer of Hydrographic Ship Blue Crew, Lieutenant Commander Dean Battilana, RAN, during his visit to HMAS Cairns.

Cairns-based Royal Australian Navy officers, sailors and units have been recognised for excellence at a series of ceremonies in the top end. 

The first ceremony saw the award of the Duke of Gloucester’s Cup to Hydrographic Ship Blue Crew by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales onboard HMAS Leeuwin

The Duke of Gloucester’s Cup is an annual award presented to the Royal Australian Navy unit, crew, squadron, clearance diving team or establishment that excelled in all aspects of safety, reliability and unit level training. In winning the Duke of Gloucester’s Cup, Blue Crew was the first hydrographic unit and the first Cairns-based unit to do so.

At a second ceremony at HMAS Cairns, Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead made further presentations to recognise the outstanding achievements of a number of Cairns-based officers, sailors and crews.

“Today is a special day as we express our gratitude and respect for several of Navy’s outstanding units and crews, noting their achievements of excellence across an Australian Fleet that strives for excellence every day,” Rear Admiral Mead said.

Sailors and officers from Blue Crew were recognised for their efforts in locating and recovering a downed US Marine aircraft off the Queensland coast by the award of a Chief of Joint Operations’ Gold Commendation.

Four other awards were made to Cairns-based units for excellence in 2017:

  • The Sarawak Shield, awarded to the outstanding Minehunter, Hydrographic and Patrol Boat Force crew or unit that has excelled in all aspects of operations, safety, reliability and efficiency was won by Blue Crew.

  • Blue Crew also won the Endeavour Shield, which recognises the achievements of the crew that has been foremost in all aspects of hydrographical operations, safety, reliability and unit level training.

  • The Pakistan Shield - Minor award was won by HMAS Wollongong, recognising the Fleet unit with fewer than 100 crew that achieved the highest standard of sporting performance.

  • The Silver Platter - Minor award was presented to the crew of ADV Cape Fourcroy (Starboard team) for achieving the highest standard in the provision of meals for the crew of a Fleet unit with fewer than three catering staff.

Commanding Officer HMAS Cairns, Commander David Hannah was proud that so many units homeported at the North Queensland base had achieved so highly. 

“Each of the awards demonstrates the dedication of our Navy people to being fit-to-fight and excelling in our duties," he said.

“The visit by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, highlights the particular significance of the Gloucester Cup. 

“It was wonderful that Blue Crew were able to share this moment with their families and friends,” Commander Hannah said.

Rear Admiral Mead emphasised that the annual Fleet awards recognised the efforts made daily by the women and men of the Royal Australian Navy as they strive to excel in Navy’s mission ‘to fight and win at sea.’ 

“While we are here today, Navy has 17 ships operating at sea around Australia, the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," he said.

“1,274 officers and sailors are at sea performing their duties, a number greater than either Army or the Air Force can field on any given day.

“A massive contribution is made by every man and woman in the Navy, and the families and friends that support us.

“We in Navy do an astonishing job day-in and day-out,” Rear Admiral Mead said.