Afar and abroad for an Arunta Aircrewman

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Topic(s): S-70B-2 Seahawk, Exercise AUSINDEX, HMAS Arunta (F151), North East Asia Deployment, Exercise HAIDOLI WALLABY

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Rhys Williams with HMAS Arunta's embarked Sea Hawk helicopter. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Rhys Williams with HMAS Arunta's embarked Sea Hawk helicopter.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Rhys David Williams says he loves working on operations and being part of a Seahawk crew. He is currently embarked on HMAS Arunta, which is undertaking a North East Asian deployment.
 
The 29 year old who has served seven years with the Royal Australian Navy, loves his job because of the challenges and the freedom it gives him.
 
Arunta is a great crew due to the great personalities on board,” he said.


“You are always working with professional people striving to be the best.”
 
Arunta’s crew has been busy since early September when the ship visited India and conducted a successful bilateral maritime exercise with the Indian Navy for the first time. AUSINDEX 15 involved HMAS Arunta as well as Sirius and Sheean, and was the first of its kind between Australia and India.
 
The exercise involved briefings and practical demonstrations ashore, before progressing to sea for various surface, anti-submarine and air warfare exercises.
 
As an Aircrewman, Leading Seaman Williams has the task of conducting search and rescue operations, rescue swimmer operations, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and utility operations such as winching, load lifting, fire fighting, confined area landings, and as a door ‘gunner’.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Rhys Williams prepares to fire a MAG58 machine gun from HMAS Arunta's embarked Sea Hawk helicopter.

Leading Seaman Aircrewman Rhys Williams prepares to fire a MAG58 machine gun from HMAS Arunta's embarked Sea Hawk helicopter.


“During AUSINDEX 15, it was great to practice all these tasks, and working with another Navy to see how they do things was an invaluable experience,” Leading Seaman Williams said.
 
“Since AUSINDEX we have also visited Malaysia and worked with the Malaysian Navy and now we are visiting the Republic of Korea to conduct Exercise HAIDOLI WALLABY 2015, a bilateral maritime activity with the South Korean Navy.”
 
Born and bred in Chirnside Park, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Leading Seaman Williams has only ever visited Vanuatu during his time with the Royal Australian Navy, while posted to HMAS Cairns as part of Armidale Class Patrol Boat crew. So this deployment is really taking him afar and abroad with a few more port visits scheduled for the ship, before she makes her way back home to Australia.
 
While originally working with patrol boats, Leading Seaman Williams transferred to the Aircrewman role in 2012, graduated as an Aircrewman in 2013 and completed Seahawk Operational Flying Training in 2015.
 
“Ideally, I would like to do one more sea posting after this, and then hopefully become part of the Defence Force Recruiting team in Melbourne, or even perhaps become a Recruit School Instructor,” Leading Seaman Williams said.
 
“I am due to join another Flight on the east coast in February next year, however, before that I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with my wife after this deployment. We only married in April this year so that’s the first thing on my list of things to do!”