For three weeks in July and August, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac Class frigate HMAS Parramatta hosted two United States Navy (USN) Midshipmen as part of a foreign exchange program between Chief of Navy, and the Chief of Naval Operations, United States Navy.
The USN Midshipmen arrived on Parramatta soon after the ship returned to Australia following a South West Pacific deployment in support of Operation SOLANIA.
From tactical operations to auxiliary services, the Midshipmen gained an appreciation for how every single person on board is crucial to making Parramatta an effective warship.
Parramatta's Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, was proud of how the crew of the Parramatta greeted the Americans with enthusiasm and eagerness to share the culture of their country, as well as their naval traditions.
"This opportunity to host young United States Naval Officers allows us strengthens ties between the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy.
"I was extremely pleased with the level of enthusiasm and professionalism of these aspiring young leaders.
"It was a pleasure to host them onboard Parramatta," Commander Willis said.
Midshipmen Hayden Marsh attends the Georgia Institute of Technology completing his fourth year of a Bachelors Degree in Nuclear Engineering.
He looks forward to becoming a Submarine Warfare Officer, and applying his engineering knowledge to the nuclear reactors that power the USN’s Submarine Fleet.
Midshipmen Ciara Roseberry, a student at the University of Tampa located in Florida, is completing her Bachelor’s Degree in International and Cultural Studies.
When she commissions from the Buccaneer Battalion at the University of South Florida, she plans to become a Surface Warfare Officer.
Both midshipmen are posted to different Battalions, but belong to the same Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) which is a program that sponsors high school graduates through university in exchange for a Return of Service Obligation.
While studying in a civilian campus, the Midshipmen are required to attend classes in uniform, participate in drill sessions, and maintain both high fitness and academic standards.
During their time onboard Parramatta, they had the opportunity to work alongside members of ship’s company.
They toured the engineering spaces, becoming familiar with the gas turbine and diesel engines that power the ship.
They were also exposed to weaponry such as the 5-inch gun, the Vertical Launch System, and communication systems.
The highlight of the midshipmen’s Australian naval education was the opportunity to be on the bridge during Surface Combatant Navigational Course, which featured some very technical high speed maneuvers and precise navigation through the Whitsunday Islands.
Midshipmen Marsh said the experience was one he would never forget.
"The professional insights we received from everyone were priceless - I really think the exchange has helped us to become better naval officers with an international viewpoint," Midshipman Marsh said.
Midshipmen Roseberry was equally positive.
"We have gained perspective on how other countries view the United States whilst visiting some very beautiful and exciting places such as Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, and Sydney," Midshipman Roseberry said.
Port calls during the midshipmen’s time on board included Cairns, where they tasted kangaroo for the first time, Townsville, where they visited Magnetic Island and immersed themselves in Australian flora and fauna, Brisbane, where they experienced an Official Reception held onboard Parramatta and finally, Sydney, where they visited the Harbour Bridge, the Opera house and many other local attractions.
The USN Midshipmen are grateful for the hospitality of the officers and crew of Parramatta and look forward to sharing their experiences with their respective Battalions upon their return to the United States.