Celebrating a naval career and looking to the future were on the menu on 29 January as HMAS Newcastle hosted a mess dinner alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney.
Guest of honour was Commodore Philip Spedding, who is transferring to the Royal Australian Navy Reserve after a distinguished career in the Permanent Navy. Commodore Spedding is one of the most decorated Naval officers currently serving, as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, and a Member of the Order of Australia.
Commanding Officer HMAS Newcastle Commander Dominic MacNamara said it was a privilege to honour the Commodore, not the least because it was he who introduced the Commanding Officer to his now wife, Andrea.
It is customary for the guest of honour to address the gathering and in his speech, Commodore Spedding offered words of advice to Newcastle’s officers; firstly, the importance of setting and working toward goals.
Upon joining the Navy, Commodore Spedding said he had one main goal, to command a ship, and he never lost sight of this and achieved it, commanding HMAS Stuart to the Middle East in 2004.
He encouraged Newcastle’s officers to work toward their own goals whilst on deployment noting Newcastle and her ship’s company will soon set sail for the Middle East.
“The patrols that the ship is about to embark on are long. You should all set and work toward goals. As long as these fit in with the needs of the Commanding Officer and the ship, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to achieve them," he said.
Secondly, he encouraged his dinner companions to remember that the Navy would continue to provide fantastic opportunities, especially when least expected.
"These opportunities can change the direction of your career, and if you choose, your life," Commodore Spedding said.
The dinner also provided an opportunity to welcome officers who recently joined the ship for her upcoming deployment.
HMAS Newcastle will be the fourth ship to deploy on Operation MANITOU and is due to deploy in early April 2015.