To commemorate the service of a former Warrant Officer who was severely injured while on duty overseas, the newly refurbished combined ranks mess at HMAS Cairns has been named in his honour.
At a ceremony in Cairns, Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, unveiled the venue’s new name as the ‘WOB Ian Chill Combined Mess’.
Warrant Officer Boatswain Chill was the Executive Officer of HMAS Tarakan in 2004 when the vessel was deployed to the Solomon Islands as part of Operation ANODE.
While deployed, he suffered a serious fall into a crevasse that left him paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.
Although he was medically discharged from the Royal Australian Navy, Warrant Officer Chill retained close links with his former shipmates and has remained active in the local Cairns community, serving as an advocate for local people with disabilities.
Executive Officer of HMAS Cairns, Lieutenant Commander Steve Taragel said he hoped the new name would inspire officers and sailors working at the North Queensland naval base.
“Resilience plays a big part in the lives of the officers and sailors that serve in Cairns, so it is particularly fitting that our new mess is named after a particularly resilient member of our community,” Lieutenant Commander Taragel said.
“It’s my hope that this gesture makes a former shipmate feel like an important part of the Navy family, and strengthens ties with our broader community of past and present sailors and officers, while also providing inspiration for everyone who works at HMAS Cairns,” he said.
Warrant Officer Chill (retired) said he felt honoured to have the mess named after him.
“I am both humbled and honoured by this,” Mr Chill said.
“I still love the Navy and everything it stands for, despite everything that has happened to me.
“I look forward to continuing my relationship with HMAS Cairns and watching the next generation of sailors pass through its doors,’ he said.