Air Commodore tastes life at sea

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Peter Croce (author), ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Boarding Party Officer, Lieutenant Joshua Maher, RAN (R) and Lieutenant Benjamin McGrath, RAN (L) show Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 633, Air Commodore Noel Derwort, CSC, ADC, equipment utilised by HMAS Darwin's boarding party when conducting boarding operations. (photo: ABIS Sarah Williams)
Boarding Party Officer, Lieutenant Joshua Maher, RAN (R) and Lieutenant Benjamin McGrath, RAN (L) show Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 633, Air Commodore Noel Derwort, CSC, ADC, equipment utilised by HMAS Darwin's boarding party when conducting boarding operations.

AIR Commodore Noel Derwort has tested his sea legs for the first time since taking over as Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East Area of Operations.

HMAS Darwin’s Ship’s Company hosted Air Commodore Derwort overnight at sea before proceeding alongside in Dubai, where the ship carried out resupply and maintenance.

The Royal Australian Air Force pilot said the transit provided him a brief insight into life onboard a Royal Australian Navy warship and was an experience he looked forward to undertaking again.

“This was my first time onboard an Australian warship at sea and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the way Navy does its business in these complex vessels,” he said.

“I have a healthy respect for the professional skill sets and highly specialised training that a Ship’s Company is required to apply each and every time they go to sea to conduct maritime security operations in the Middle East and also when they are back home.

“The team embarked in HMAS Darwin is doing a fantastic job which has been clearly illustrated with their success with recent narcotics interceptions.

“I especially enjoyed partaking in a game of ‘Uckers’ and I look forward to a rematch on my next visit!”

Ship’s Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Peter Leech, accompanied Air Commodore Derwort on his tour of the guided missile frigate, where he spoke with personnel in all messes and was briefed on boarding party operations.

He was also given an introduction into aviation operations carried out by the ship’s embarked S-70B Seahawk flight, along with tours of the ammunition magazines and weapons control room.

HMAS Darwin is deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) and is the 57th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy warship there since the first Gulf War in 1990 and the 33rd deployment under Operation SLIPPER.

Operation SLIPPER is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Middle East maritime security environment, an area of over two million square miles, encompassing the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.