'Sea Dog' bids farewell to HS RED

Published on SBLT Abbie Martin (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Melville (A246), HS RED Crew

Lieutenant Commander Ian Jordan on the quarterdeck of HMAS Melville. (photo: )
Lieutenant Commander Ian Jordan on the quarterdeck of HMAS Melville.

Lieutenant Commander Ian Jordan marched off of HMAS Melville this year, ending his time as Executive Officer of the Hydrographic Survey crew HS RED, and having completed more that 6700 days posted to various seagoing vessels.

‘Taf’, as LCDR Jordan is universally known, joined the Royal Australian Navy as an ‘adult recruit’, arriving at HMAS Cerberus in May 1977. He completed the Seaman Quarter Master Gunner (SMNQMG) course and went to sea in HMAS Stalwart. His time in ‘Building 215’ (Stalwart) is where LCDR Jordan cut his teeth as a ‘dibby’ (Boatswains Mate), endlessly chipping rust from under the flight deck and enjoying balmy days over the side, in the midst of Sydney’s winters, painting the ship's side.

Since then, he has enjoyed 14 sea postings in nine different classes of ships. He worked his way up through the ranks to Warrant Officer, where he was instrumental in the development of weapons and gunnery policy. He was also a Champion Shot marksman and has travelled all over the world with the Navy.

HS RED Maritime Warfare Officer, SBLT Abbie Martin said her crew will miss LCDR Jordan.

“He might not miss us, but we will certainly miss him! As an Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Jordan was both a larrikin and a slave driver. He knew the importance of getting the job done but made sure his troops had fun along the way,” she said.

“During his time with HS RED Crew, he created an environment that fostered teamwork and created strong morale – and for that he was revered by the crew. His experience and knowledge, as well as his positive attitude and quirky nature, were much appreciated by all onboard,” SBLT Martin said.  

Before LDCR Jordan said goodbye to his seagoing days, SBLT Martin asked him about his experiences in the Royal Australian Navy…

SBLT Martin: What are some of your fondest memories of your 36 years in the Navy? 

LCDR Jordan: sailing the DDG (Destroyer) HMAS Hobart to Macquarie Island to rescue an injured scientist. The ‘chippies’ (carpenters) built a helicopter pad on the quarterdeck and four of the largest sailors got underneath the helicopter and held it down with heavy cordage while the injured scientist was disembarked.

I also have fond memories of being on the bridge of HMAS Hobart when she was travelling at 38.5 knots, Commissioning HMAS Adelaide in Seattle and enjoying the old HMAS Parramatta.

SBLT Martin: Can you summarise your career in one sentence?

LCDR Jordan: Long! In 36 years, 18 of them were at sea; I have been everywhere and done everything! 

SBLT Martin: When did you join?

LCDR Jordan: May, 1977

SBLT Martin: What is the thing you remember most about recruit school?

LCDR Jordan:Wakey, wakey’ at 0500 to willingly participate in a physical training session during a Cerberus winter! Winters were colder in the 70s! 

SBLT Martin: What made you decide to change over to Officer?

LCDR Jordan: I changed over in 2007 when I was a Warrant Officer Boatswain. It was the only way I could stay at sea! 

SBLT Martin: What do you enjoy most about your job? 

LCDR Jordan: Working with young people and watching them make the same mistakes as I did, only to then realise that maybe the ‘old bloke’ might be right after all.

SBLT Martin: If you had your time again, what would you change? 

LCDR Jordan: I wouldn’t play contact sports; I now have too many aches and pains attributable to sports injuries!

SBLT Martin: Can you offer any advice for the young players making their way through the ranks? 

LCDR Jordan: Enjoy yourself. Ensure as many people around you enjoy themselves. Celebrate and remember the lives of your mates who have died along the way for whatever reason. 

SBLT Martin: What are your plans for the future?

LCDR Jordan: I have decided to retire in about two years time and travel around the country with a caravan, showing my lovely wife all the wonderful places that I have been lucky enough to visit in my career at sea.

SBLT Martin: As you have always said, Sir: ‘there are three parts to any evolution.’ So, to wrap up this evolution, I would like to thank you for your 18 years at sea, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.