MV Sycamore - future proofing the RAN

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Karl Brinckmann (author), Mr Garry Vincent (photographer)

Topic(s): Australian Navy Cadets, MV Sycamore

Australian Navy Cadets with Mr Scott Jackson, left, preparing for working at heights. (photo: Mr Garry Vincent)
Australian Navy Cadets with Mr Scott Jackson, left, preparing for working at heights.

Maritime Aviation Training Vessel MV Sycamore has recently taken time in a very busy schedule to help ‘future proof’ the Royal Australian Navy by training and supporting Australian Navy Cadets (ANC).

During the winter school holidays Sycamore welcomed aboard 15 cadets from Lonsdale (Victoria), Torrens (South Australia), Kellatie (Tasmania) and Waratah (Southern NSW) flotillas, accompanied by three ANC adult supervisors and two members from Lonsdale Flotilla Headquarters at HMAS Cerberus.

The week-long adventure saw the cadets participate in naval and team building activities while gaining firsthand experience of life at sea.

Becoming familiar with Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) operations, working at heights, corrosion control, escape training, crash on deck exercises and engineering were among the week’s many activities.

Cadets also had the opportunity to view MH60-R Seahawk Romeo and EC135 helicopters being put through their paces on the flight deck.

The week was great preparation for Cadet Able Seaman Blair Allie from Hobart-based Training Ship Derwent who is due to join recruit school at HMAS Cerberus at the end of July to commence his training to become a Boatswains Mate.

“Being able to experience life at sea in Sycamore has given me a great insight into what to expect in my initial training,” Cadet Allie said.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed keeping bridge watches where I learned how to steer the ship and to report contacts.”

Australian Naval Cadets are important for RAN recruitment, with one in every five to six going on to join the Navy as either junior officers or sailors.

Embarking in Sycamore gives cadets an opportunity to experience Navy before making a decision to join.

The Australian Navy Cadets would not exist without the enduring support of adult helpers to provide support, organisation, professionalism and required oversight. One such adult helper on this voyage was SBLT ANC Gary Cox from Portland, Victoria.

A metal smelter worker by day and avid Naval enthusiast by night, six of Gary’s children have gone through Naval Cadets and he and his wife have supported the organisation for years.

“I think it’s very important that cadets get the best support they can so they can develop the skills they need to combat the modern challenges of life,” Gary observed.

“I also enjoy the opportunity to participate in the activities as an avid Navy enthusiast. My favourite activity was the RHIB familiarisation.”

The ship’s civilian crew, from Teekay Shipping, led by merchant Captains Zane Geary and Lee Weldon also got a thrill from helping develop the cadets.

Sycamore crew member Chief Integrated Rating Scott Jackson supervised many of the activities including working at heights and corrosion control.

“I remember when I was first starting out how important it was to have someone mentor and guide me.

“I think it’s really rewarding to help the next generation as they start their journey, whether it be in the Navy or otherwise,” Scott said.

Sycamore plays a critical role in supporting the development of the next generation of Navy whether it be cadets, recruits, midshipmen or trainee helicopter pilots.

The skills and the enthusiasm shown by the cadets embarked in Sycamore augers well for the Navy’s future.