Task group marks dual birthday celebrations

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Jason Parsons (author), LCDR Helen Ward (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer), SMNEW Harrison Looney (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Parramatta (F154), HMAS Toowoomba (F156), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta, Commander Simon Howard and HMAS Parramatta's youngest crew member Midshipman Tiffany McCormack cut a large birthday cake celebrating HMAS Parramatta's 14th Birthday since commissioning in 2003.  (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Commanding Officer HMAS Parramatta, Commander Simon Howard and HMAS Parramatta's youngest crew member Midshipman Tiffany McCormack cut a large birthday cake celebrating HMAS Parramatta's 14th Birthday since commissioning in 2003.
The ship’s companies of HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Toowoomba recently celebrated their vessels’ birthdays in perfect mariner fashion – at sea as part of a joint task group deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
Birthday celebrations kicked off in Parramatta on 4 October with the Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Howard, giving a short history lesson on the proud name the ship carries as the fourth in service.
 
“The original motto ‘First Born’ goes back to Parramatta I which was the first ship to be built for the Commonwealth Naval Forces.
 
“The oldest ship name in the Fleet and now the fourth ship in the Royal Australian Navy to bear the name, we are proud custodians of a very long heritage,” Commander Howard said.
 
While the motto has changed to ‘Strike Deep’ and technology has enhanced, 14-year-old Parramatta can now embark a variety of aircraft including the new MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopters.
 
As part of the celebrations, the major award of the day, Sailor of the Quarter, was awarded to Leading Seaman Communication and Information Systems Matthew Kinsella.
 
He received the award for his professionalism and service as the Local Area Network Administrator, and also for his work within the cyber security realm.
 
“Leading Seaman Kinsella has been paramount in establishing procedures and audits onboard to reduce Parramatta’s vulnerability to external cyber attacks,” Commander Howard said.
 
On Toowoomba the ship’s 12th birthday was celebrated on 8 October. The chefs onboard made time in their hectic schedules to whip up an outstanding cake to celebrate the occasion.
 
In old Navy tradition, the birthday cake was cut by the youngest member of the ship’s crew while the rest of the crew sang a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.
 
Joint task group deployments such as Indo-Pacific Endeavour focus on security cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.