A MH-60R Romeo helicopter from 816 Squadron is about to play its part in the Australian leg of the Commonwealth Games baton relay.
For the Kiama to Shoalhaven leg, Navy personnel will use two forms of transport and take responsibity for delivering the baton to its next bearer. The 3,800 Australian baton bearers will travel by foot, train, bicycle, horse, tram, dragon boat and, in Navy’s case, helicopter and Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat.
Commanding Officer of 816 Squadron, Commander Anthony Savage, Lieutenant Jordan Taylor, and Petty Officer Nicholas Lowe are the crew charged with transporting HMAS Albatross Commanding Officer Captain Fiona Sneath and the baton between the two south coast community celebrations.
Commander Savage said he was proud the Squadron was invited to participate in such a significant occasion.
“Having the responsibility of flying the Commonwealth Games baton is a rare opportunity and will undoubtedly form a lasting memory for the men and women of 816 Squadron.
“The baton is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and although the flight from Kiama to Shoalhaven is a relatively short one, the links created along the relay’s route are immense. The baton relay is not just a celebration of sport, but a connection of communities and cultures across the Commonwealth.
“We feel particularly privileged to participate in the relay and I think being invited to do so is indicative of the contribution we make to this region and the respect for which the community of the Shoalhaven have for Navy,” Commander Savage said.
Navy’s leg of the relay will take place on Monday 5th February when the MH-60R will land on the banks of the Shoalhaven river at 4.20 pm.
Captain Sneath will then be escorted via Royal Australian Navy Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat over the river where the baton will continue its route through Nowra and onto the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre where the celebrations will continue.
The specially designed baton bearing a message from Her Majesty the Queen is making its way around Australia after a 288 day journey through the entire Commonwealth. The baton’s final destination is the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The Australian leg of the relay commenced on 25th January 2018 and will take place over 100 days and cover 40,000 kilometres.