Birdies soar to new heights in Florida

Published on LEUT Aaron Cochrane (author), Unknown (photographer)

Topic(s): 723 Squadron

Promotion ceremony of LEUT Michael Grant and LEUT Grant Rushford; (L-R) CDR Richard Whitfield, USN, LEUT Michael Grant, LEUT Grant Rushford, CMDR Colin Brightling. (photo: )
Promotion ceremony of LEUT Michael Grant and LEUT Grant Rushford; (L-R) CDR Richard Whitfield, USN, LEUT Michael Grant, LEUT Grant Rushford, CMDR Colin Brightling.
Two Royal Australian Navy Officers have received promotions in rank while on overseas posting to Naval Air Station Mayport in Florida, USA.
 
Aviation Warfare Officers Michael Grant and Grant Rushford are currently posted to United States Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40 and were both promoted to the rank of  Lieutenant at a ceremony in Florida.
 
Commander Colin Brightling of the Australian Embassy was joined by Commanding Officer, United States Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40 Commander Richard Whitfield to promote the two officers and present them with their new rank insignia. 
 
“It is always an honour to promote personnel in the Navy but it is a privilege to assist in the promotion of two Australian officers,” Commander Whitfield said.
 
Lieutenants Grant and Rushford are part of a contingent of 12 Royal Australian Navy personnel posted to the squadron conducting operational conversion to the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
 
Both officers joined the Navy in 2012 and graduated from degree studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. They have completed initial rotary conversion, flying Bell 429 helicopters with 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW last year.
 
Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors posted to United States Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40 are completing operational conversion training and are comprised of pilots, aviation warfare officers and aircrewmen. By late 2018 this will provide Navy with an additional four Seahawk crews. 
 
Commander Brightling said Australia maintains a close relationship with the United States Navy.
 
“Especially in the Romeo Seahawk community,” he said.
 
“The MH-60R Seahawk is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
 
“Australian aviators will receive first class training in both the United States and in Australia, ensuring that personnel are ready to deploy in a task group environment and conduct the full spectrum of maritime security operations.”