On 15 November, a bright sunny day in Brisbane, Commander Ashley Papp relinquished command of HMAS Choules, handing the weight to Commander Chris Aulmann. The handover of the 'weight' symbolises the transfer of the responsibility of command.
HMAS Choules, is a Landing Ship Dock, which originally served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as RFA Largs Bay from 2006-2011. Choules is a large versatile ship, capable of carrying over 300 troops, 23 Abrams tanks, 150 light Trucks, Landing Ship Vehicle Personnel, Landing Craft Mechanised Version Eight (LCM8). Choules also has the ability to embark a variety of helicopters including the MRH-90, the Seahawk and the Army’s Black Hawk.
After a very busy and successful two years in command, Commander Papp said goodbye to the ship's company, who served during Operation RENDER SAFE, Exercise SEA DAWN, Operation LANDSCAPE and Exercise SEA LION. Other highlights include the hosting of special events including being the Australia Day Flag Ship, hosting the HMAS Voyager II memorial service at sea, VIP tours for officials from different countries, visits to Bougainville, Manus Island and New Zealand and hosting the channel Seven Morning Show onboard.
Commander Aulmann is looking forward to leading the ship’s company through a very busy period of operations and exercises in the near future as well as continuing to contribute to the development of the ADF amphibious capability during Exercise TALISMAN SABER in 2015.
“I am very proud to be joining the ship’s company of HMAS Choules. I am looking forward to continuing the good work done by Commander Papp and the Choules team over the past two years," Commander Aulmann said.
Not wasting any time, Commander Aulmann got straight to work making his first promotion since assuming command of Choules, promoting Seaman Communication Information Systems Sailor, Bradley Harricks to Able Seaman.
Since joining the Navy in 1991, Commander Aulmann has held a range of postings including an exchange posting in USCGC Polar Sea supporting the scientific expeditions and the resupply of US bases in the Antarctic.