Aussie visitors remind US Navy officer of his past

Published on SBLT Bianca Wise (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, Sydney

Topic(s): Fleet Base East, Australian Defence College

Staff of USS Preble with instructors and students of the Australian Defence College on board USS Preble, berthed at Fleet Base East, Sydney.  (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Staff of USS Preble with instructors and students of the Australian Defence College on board USS Preble, berthed at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

As an alumnus of the Australian Defence College, it was with great pride that the Executive Officer of USS Preble, Commander (CDR) Jeff Heames, welcomed 45 students and staff members of the Australian Defence College onboard the American guided-missile destroyer for a tour, while the ship was alongside at Fleet Base East.

CDR Heames was the only United States Navy officer on exchange during his course at the ADC in 2012.

“Attending the Australian Defence College was a terrific experience, both professionally and personally," said the United States native.

“The partnership with the Australian National University (ANU) provided a rigorous, relevant and challenging curriculum that offered unique perspectives and insights to the many challenges facing Australia and the surrounding region,” he said.

ADC staff and students toured various areas of the ship, including living spaces, the bridge, the combat information centre, helicopter hangars, the central control station and the vessel's engineering spaces.

Major John Moore, a student of the Australian Defence College, swaps his slouch hat with Lieutenant Maria McCrorey on board USS Preble which is berthed at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

Major John Moore, a student of the Australian Defence College, swaps his slouch hat with Lieutenant Maria McCrorey on board USS Preble which is berthed at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

The visit was a unique experience for the current ADC staff and students, who discussed their views with the ship's Executive Officer.

“I most enjoyed discussing the current focus of study at the college, Australian Defence policy,” CDR Heames said.

CDR Heames spent one year in Australia while he completed the course, with his wife Stephanie and their two boys, Truman, age 4 and Griffin, age 2, accompanying him during his stay.

“My family and I treasure the experiences we had in Australia - and it is a real thrill to be back among our Aussie mates, and bringing USS Preble to the world-class Sydney Harbour.”

Following a year of study at the college and more recently a joint exercise, CDR Heames has developed positive views of his Australian counterparts.

“Australians are industrious, capable, and dependable,” CDR Heames said.

“I find them to have a strong work ethic and zeal for living.”

“Any visit to Australia is always welcomed, and I have no doubts that this trip was a memorable one for all the crew," he said.