After two years in a command that encompassed four Anzac class frigates, Commander Matthew Doornbos handed over command of HMAS Anzac to Commander Belinda Wood at a ceremony held alongside Sydney’s Fleet Base East last week.
Commander Doornbos took command of HMAS Ballarat in November 2012, and has lead the ship through deployments in support of Operation RESOLUTE, the Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to border protection, before docking Ballarat for the Anti Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) Upgrade program currently underway for the RAN’s fleet of Anzac class frigates.
“Whilst the ship’s company was preparing Ballarat for its upgrade, I was called upon to take temporary command of firstly HMAS Toowoomba, then HMAS Stuart, before returning to undock Anzac following her ASMD upgrade and dock Ballarat for her upgrade.
“The most important part of any ship is its sailors and officers, and to lead one group of hardworking women and men as they switched ballcaps from Ballarat to Anzac has been a privilege.
“To see the crew overcome a variety of challenges away from our home port of Fleet Base East has been an amazing experience.
“As I move onto my next posting, I am proud of what my team has achieved, and am excited for them as they prepare for their important NORTHERN TRIDENT deployment to Gallipoli and beyond,” Commander Doornbos said.
During the change of command ceremony the crew of Anzac formed up on the ship’s flight deck, and following a short address Commander Doornbos handed over the ‘weight of command’ to Commander Wood, which for Anzac is embodied in a full-size brass replica of an Australian digger’s slouch hat.
Accompanied by his wife, Diane, Commander Doornbos proceeded to Anzac’s starboard side, where SMB 168, a restored 1937 motor boat, was waiting with the Director of the Navy Heritage Collection, Commander Alex Hawes, at the helm. Commander Hawes served on HMAS Huon as the commissioning Executive Officer together with Commander Doornbos who was the Navigating Officer.
After Commander and Mrs Doornbos embarked SMB 168, the former District Officer’s launch proceeded ahead of Anzac and then turned and came alongside the ship’s starboard side where Anzac’s crew lined the upper decks and gave three cheers to Commander Doornbos for his leadership over the past two years.
After taking command, Anzac’s new Commanding Officer, Commander Wood, addressed the crew to reflect on their achievements of the year, and the upcoming activities for 2015 after the crew has a well-earned short break for Christmas and New Year.
“2014 has been a busy year for Anzac and her family.
“You have been away from your families for a significant part of the year, and we have a busy, challenging and exciting program for 2015.
“Over this holiday period make sure you spend time with your families, be safe and recharge your batteries ready to start afresh in early January,” Commander Wood said.
Anzac will represent Australia at the Centenary of Anzac activities at Gallipoli in April, as part of her deployment on NORTHERN TRIDENT 2015.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143817.