‘Holy Helo’ arrives aboard HMAS Sydney

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Grant McDuling (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Sydney (IV)

US Navy Chaplain, Commander Daniel Mode of Task Force Seven Zero dons protective and life saving equipment prior to a helicopter transfer off HMAS Sydney. (photo: LEUT Grant McDuling)
US Navy Chaplain, Commander Daniel Mode of Task Force Seven Zero dons protective and life saving equipment prior to a helicopter transfer off HMAS Sydney.

A United States Navy chaplain assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington visited the Royal Australian Navy’s guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney (IV) via helicopter on 4th July, 2013.

CMDR Daniel Mode, a Roman Catholic priest, offered a Mass in Sydney’s wardroom as part of the US 7th Fleet’s effort to ensure all ships operating in the area have access to religious services. HMAS Sydney is currently embedded with the US Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group as part of the Royal Australian Navy’s preparations for the arrival into service of its new Hobart-class air warfare destroyers.

“Chaplains are here to care, facilitate, provide and advise,” CMDR Mode said.

“I am a firm believer that sailors should have the ability to exercise their religious beliefs and my job is to help facilitate in any way possible.”

The onboard mass was attended by a small but enthusiastic group of Sydney’s crew. According to Able Seaman Anthony Johnstone, being asked to deliver one of the readings filled him with a little bit of apprehension at first.

“But once I got into it, I began to feel like I was back home again,” he said. “CMDR Mode’s presence put me into a more spiritual mood.”

Leading Seaman Michael Baruch said it was good to be able to join a fellowship together in an allied environment.