New Executive Officer for the Top End

Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), ABML-P Leah Croker (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Coonawarra

Topic(s): HMAS Coonawarra

Lieutenant Commander Kate Woodall ‘takes the weight’ as Executive Officer of HMAS Coonawarra from Lieutenant Commander Phillipa Hay. (photo: )
Lieutenant Commander Kate Woodall ‘takes the weight’ as Executive Officer of HMAS Coonawarra from Lieutenant Commander Phillipa Hay.
Lieutenant Commander Kate Woodall has taken over as Executive Officer of HMAS Coonawarra in uniquely Darwin style, ‘taking the weight’ in the form of a baby crocodile from her predecessor Lieutenant Commander Phillipa Hay.
 
Lieutenant Commander Hay said much like the crocodile, Coonawarra was small in size but packed a big bite in terms of Royal Australian Navy activity.
 
“As the hub of Navy’s contribution to Operation RESOLUTE and a gateway to our northern neighbours, it is the busiest naval port in Australia,” she said.
 
“There are more than 35 boat movements each week, 100 Australian and foreign warships that visit each year and only a small team of dedicated Officers and Sailors to support the activities.”
 
New Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Woodall is no stranger to challenges.
 
The Maritime Warfare Officer specialising in Meteorology and Oceanography has previously spent three months deployed to Antarctica to support the Australian Antarctic Divisions resupply of Showa Station.
 
She has deployed various times on border integrity operations in the north and to the Middle East Region. She also has a Master’s Degree in Science.
 
Lieutenant Commander Woodall said she would bring enthusiasm and dedication to the role.
 
“HMAS Coonawarra exists to support the fleet and has done a commendable job in doing so. This is evidenced by the success of the men and women in the patrol boats consistently delivering on government directed operations,” she said.
 
Lieutenant Commander Hay leaves after almost three years as Executive Officer Coonawarra. She takes up the role of Planning Officer at Fleet Battle Staff in Brisbane.
 
Fleet Battle Staff is responsible for the provision of tactical level command and planning of maritime operations. When not deployed on operations or exercises, it contributes to the development of tactics and doctrine in maritime warfare, as well as task group level training and assessment.
 
Operation RESOLUTE is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the whole-of-government effort to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests.