Aviation graduates ready to support Squadrons

Published on LEUT Dave Devlin (author), ABEW Ryan McKenzie (photographer), ABMT Leo Baumgartner (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, Graduation

The graduating class and support staff of the Aviation Support Course 02-18 outside the Fleet Air Arm Museum located in Nowra, NSW. (photo: ABEW Ryan McKenzie)
The graduating class and support staff of the Aviation Support Course 02-18 outside the Fleet Air Arm Museum located in Nowra, NSW.

The Royal Australian Navy has nine new Aviation Support sailors, recently graduated from 19 weeks of training at HMAS Albatross.

The graduation ceremony took place at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, in front of family, friends and in the presence of senior Fleet Air Arm and HMAS Albatross personnel.

Graduation certificates and awards were presented by the Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, who praised all students on their individual achievements. 

“You have all gained the necessary skills to support the RAN’s enhanced aviation capability. 

“I congratulate you, but now challenge you to develop these skills as you become part of our professional, agile and innovative Navy aviation family,” CDRE Smallhorn said. 

Aviation Support sailors manage the movements and deck systems of the RAN’s fleet of advanced military helicopters both in shore bases and at sea. They also support air squadrons in a multitude of non-technical roles providing Navy and visiting aircraft with a range of airfield services.

The course teaches sailors to plan, execute, secure and oversee all aircraft ground handling operations in Navy squadron flight lines or at sea on the flight deck and hangar decks in HMAS Canberra and Adelaide, the Navy's multi-spot amphibious assault ships, in all weathers and sea states, day and night in order to meet operational requirements. 

(L-R) Course instructor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Lee Gallagher; Seaman Aviation Support Alyssa Clark, awarded Best Academic Achievement; Seaman Aviation Support Georgia Weinert, awarded Most Outstanding Student; Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN; Seaman Support Aviation Keely Hagedoorn, awarded Most Outstanding Leadership; and course instructor Flight Lieutenant Debbie Herberz, at the Aviation Support Course 02-18 graduation.

(L-R) Course instructor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Lee Gallagher; Seaman Aviation Support Alyssa Clark, awarded Best Academic Achievement; Seaman Aviation Support Georgia Weinert, awarded Most Outstanding Student; Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN; Seaman Support Aviation Keely Hagedoorn, awarded Most Outstanding Leadership; and course instructor Flight Lieutenant Debbie Herberz, at the Aviation Support Course 02-18 graduation.

The award for the most outstanding student was presented to Seaman Georgia Weinert from Nowra in NSW.

“I joined the Navy after leaving high school and chose an aviation role after gaining some interest from a Defence Recruiting visit in year 10.

“I was quite surprised to receive this award, given how closely all students worked together throughout the course.

“I am looking forward to going to sea and deploying, where I can put my new skills into practice,” SMN Weinert said.

The class of six females and three males will undertake their next postings in one of the RAN’s Amphibious Assault Ships and assisting in further training at HMAS Albatross.

For more information on a career as an Aviation Support sailor, visit https://www.defencejobs.gov.au/jobs/navy/aviation-ground-crew