Navy has a larger pool of skills and talent for aviation operations after 22 sailors graduated from the School of Aviation Training at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales.
The group completed a range of training from introductory to advanced courses in aviation support operations.
Junior personnel will soon be accepting responsibility for launching and retrieving some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world, according to Captain Darren Rae, Chief Staff Officer, Aviation Engineering, who was on hand to present prizes to the group.
“To graduate is no easy task,” Captain Rae said.
The specialised group in the Aviation Support category perform challenging tasks in all waters and sea states, day and night to meet Navy’s operational requirements.
“Given that you are a small branch of our Navy, I am sure that wherever your paths lead there will remain an unbreakable link between all of you,” Captain Rae said.
“That is a certainty and comes from, together, having met and overcome the considerable challenges you faced on this course.”
Seaman Kellie Curry was awarded the most outstanding student of the basic course. She joined the Navy via the Defence Indigenous Development Program, and at 39 years old said there were a number of factors behind her decision to join the Aviation Support category.
“It seemed exciting that the role was to work on Navy’s, new Canberra class amphibious assault ships and it would also give me the chance to work with some of the best aircraft the world,” Seaman Curry said.
“I would have to say working with people from all different backgrounds and ages and finally seeing all our training come together at the end were the most enjoyable aspects of the course for me.”
Seaman Korjan Eratan was awarded Best Academic Achievement on the Basic Course which covers all aspects of aviation operations including safety, ground handling, aircraft movements, and aviation fire fighting and rescue.
Seaman Eratan said that while the course was definitely demanding there were many aspects he enjoyed.
“I got a lot out of satisfaction from the activities that involved teamwork, such as in fire fighting and moving the aircraft on the deck,” he said.
“These activities became especially challenging during the last week of course – which is when everything we've learnt had to be put together. It truly revealed the personalities of everyone on course!”
Leading Seaman Aviation George Mayes received a prize for Outstanding Leadership and completed the 12 week Aviation Support Aircraft Director Course which is largely focussed on the practical elements which develop command and control to safely conduct deck evolutions such as deck marshalling, aircraft movements, and emergency response scene control.
Graduates of the basic course will be posted to 808 Squadron in support of Navy’s multi-role helicopters, and Captain Rae reminded them to continue to work as a close-knit team.
“Acknowledge those who have helped you along the way, consider how this team environment has shaped your character and how this will be the foundation of you growing into a successful military aviation handler,” he said.