Man on a mission of excellence

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author), ABML-SC Craig Walton (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Hobart (D39)

Commanding Officer of HMAS Hobart, Captain John Stavridis, RAN, salutes the officer of the day Lieutenant James Chinner, after being the last man to board the Guided Missile Destroyer at the ship's commissioning ceremony at Garden Island Sydney. (photo: ABML-SC Craig Walton)
Commanding Officer of HMAS Hobart, Captain John Stavridis, RAN, salutes the officer of the day Lieutenant James Chinner, after being the last man to board the Guided Missile Destroyer at the ship's commissioning ceremony at Garden Island Sydney.

The man given the responsibility of commanding Navy’s new destroyer says it is an honour to be in command of a ship that shares her name with a rich history of operational service and excellence.

Commanding Officer of HMAS Hobart, Captain John Stavridis said every command had the same level of responsibility, which was to achieve the directed mission.

“The focus of my command and central to achieving our mission is developing a strong, positive culture,” Captain Stavridis said.

“My vision for Hobart is to be a destroyer renowned for excellence, with a professional crew that sets the standard that others follow.

“This of course requires us all to be individually ready and masters of our trade, focused on continuous improvement and knowledge enhancement. To be frank, we must be better skilled and prepared than any opponent.

“We are also required to have a collective mindset and ability to work as a team.

“Finally we must be proud of our ship and have Hobart in the best material state to be ready for operations.

“As I regularly tell my crew; it is a challenge that requires our constant focus and attention. Put simply there is no second-best in warfare. However, we are fortunate as we know what success looks like; it was demonstrated by our shipmates from Hobart I and II. Their continued support and interest in our progress has been most beneficial and welcome.”

Captain Stavridis said he and some of his crew members were fortunate to have spent time at sea in their Spanish sister ship, Cristobal Colon (F105), earlier this year.

“The time spent in Cristobal Colon was extremely valuable as it provided a unique opportunity to better understand the platform and to work with a crew that have a detailed working knowledge of the ship,” Captain Stavridis said.

Cristobal Colon’s crew were extremely generous in their time and ensured that we were given all opportunities to learn as much as we could.”

He said the layout of Cristobal Colon was very similar to the Hobart class.

“In fact the Hobart class was based on the F104 design with modifications taken from the F105.”

Captain Stavridis said while Hobart shared many features, including incorporation of the Aegis weapons system, there were differences among the selection of specific weapons and sensors.

Captain Stavridis said Hobart would now proceed to a period of operational test and evaluation.

“The first major assessment post-commissioning will be the mariner skills evaluation which tests activities such as seamanship and damage control, ensuring the crew is competent to proceed to sea,” he said.

“Next year is an exciting year which will include visits to other ports within Australia, including our namesake city.

“The period of operational test and evaluation will culminate with the Combat System Ship Qualification Trials – or ‘sea-squats’ – in the United States next year.

“This trials period marks the last dedicated systems engineering milestone for the Hobart combat system.

“A period of intense testing will include multiple live firing events and is aimed at demonstrating the full capabilities of the combat system throughout the detect-to-engage sequence. However, this important event won’t only test the combat system but the entire crew.

“On successful completion of this trials period Hobart will be declared operationally capable.”

Captain Stavridis said it was an honour to serve in his second Hobart and he considered himself very fortunate.

“I feel especially proud having served in HMAS Hobart II as an officer-of-the-watch from 1993-1995,” Captain Stavridis said.

“My experiences in Hobart II were positive, with a key memory being the professional and inclusive crew.

“It was a happy ship and one that was very much mission-focused.

“It is an attitude and focus I hope we can achieve in Hobart III.

“We are also fortunate to have the support of the Hobart Associations; our former shipmates that established the ‘Green Ghost’s’ reputation for excellence.

“They have been central in relaying their stories and lessons learned. I hope that we, too, can become, as they were affectionately known as, ‘the best damn ship in the Fleet’.”