Commander no slouch in Anzac

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Samual Pang (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

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Topic(s): Ceremony and Traditions, Ships, Boats and Submarines, Frigate Helicopter (FFH), HMAS Anzac (F150), Change of Command

Commander Belinda Wood, RAN, passes the weight of HMAS Anzac and command, to Commander Michael Devine, RAN, aboard HMAS Anzac, Fleet Base East. (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
Commander Belinda Wood, RAN, passes the weight of HMAS Anzac and command, to Commander Michael Devine, RAN, aboard HMAS Anzac, Fleet Base East.

Commander Belinda Wood formally handed over command of HMAS Anzac to Commander Michael Devine on 9 December in a ceremony onboard the ship as she was alongside in Sydney.

Commander Wood thanked her crew for all their efforts in a tenure that took the ship around the globe as part of Centenary of Anzac commemorations. In light of the ship's name, the traditional 'passing of the weight' has links to those who served when the Anzac legend was born -  an Australian slouch hat, with a Navy puggaree.

Commander Wood said it was a "pleasure" to command the ship and her crew over the past two years following on from a role in the Office of the Chief of Navy.  Her Command was heavy on representational duties as the ship represented Australia at Gallipoli for the 100th anniversary of the First World War landings by Australian and New Zealand Forces, and for a number of other significant commemorations.

"In particular, I thank you all for your farewell gifts, which will give me special memories that will be long remembered and spoken about,” she said.

Shortly after the onboard ceremony was completed, the ship's company assembled to 'cheer ship' in honour of Commander Wood’s command. The crew lined the starboard side of the ship and waved their farewell to as she embarked the awaiting sea boat to be sent 'ashore'.

Greeted on the boat by her partner Kristy, Commander Wood was farewelled with the gift of a special dinner and hotel stay in recognition of a well-earned rest.

The time for celebration was short-lived, however, as it was back to business shortly after the event. For the new Commanding Officer, Commander Devine, there was little time for settling into the lead role with sea qualification trails and a missile firing in the first week of Command.

Commander Devine brings a wealth of experience to the ship, having served as Gunnery and Operations Officer of sister-ship, HMAS Stuart and Executive Officer of HMAS Ballarat.