Community leaders experience Navy life at sea and ashore

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kristie Okely (author), ABIS Kieran Dempsey (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, HMAS Creswell, HMAS Watson, HMAS Canberra (L02)

Participants of the 2018 Community Leaders at Sea Program disembark a Royal Australian Navy MRH-90 helicopter at HMAS Watson, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Kieran Dempsey)
Participants of the 2018 Community Leaders at Sea Program disembark a Royal Australian Navy MRH-90 helicopter at HMAS Watson, Sydney.

Eleven local community leaders experienced a taste of the Royal Australian Navy as part of the Fleet Commanders’ Community Leaders at Sea Program (CLASP) in early October.

This year’s two-day CLASP activity included hands-on activities at HMA Ships Watson, Canberra, Creswell, Albatross and the RAN School of Survivability & Ship Safety, enabling participants to experience first-hand, the challenging aspects of life at sea and training ashore.

Chief of Staff - Fleet Command, Commodore Luke Charles-Jones said this important engagement provided a unique insight to participants into how Navy capability meets Government requirements.

“The CLASP initiative is designed to build awareness and understanding of Navy activity amongst business, academic, sporting and community leaders in the Sydney region, providing opportunity to witness Fleet activities, both at sea and ashore,’ CDRE Charles-Jones said.

“Core to the program was helping others to develop a greater understanding of why the Navy exists, what it does and how it does it, ultimately contributing to better connections and understanding of Navy in the community.”

Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue Paul Baxter said that spending time in the bridge and operations room simulators and the flight simulator at HMAS Albatross was really impressive.

“There are a lot of similarities in our workplaces and we have traditionally had a close alliance with Navy.

“In particular, seeing some of the simulation systems used and the ways we can leverage off this experience for our own capability was really worthwhile,” Commissioner Baxter said.

Chief of Staff NSW Police, Chief Superintendent Scott Whyte said he was really impressed at seeing the first of class flight trials for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter and the capabilities of HMAS Canberra as a headquarters at sea.

“It’s really important NSW Police understand Navy’s capability, especially as we are working in each other’s space more and more frequently,” Chief Superintendent Whyte said.

The activities at each of the training establishments HMA Ships Watson, Creswell and the RAN School of Survivability & Ship Safety gave the participants a chance to meet Navy personnel one-on-one.

Co-head of Macquarie Capital, John Pickhaver, said that despite the unparalleled access to some of Navy’s key infrastructure, it was the people who left a lasting impression.

“I got an immense amount out of the program and it was great to be able to share perspectives of leadership across the commercial and Defence worlds and gain such a great appreciation and understanding of the Navy approach and impact.” Mr Pickhaver said.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Rugby League, Todd Greenberg was also impressed with the teamwork he witnessed at sea and ashore.

“Teamwork is core to my own organisation’s success, so I have been really impressed by the level of engagement and professionalism that was shown to us by the various staff we encountered, especially given the challenging environments they work in.” Mr Greenberg said.

A key result of the activity is that all participants returned to their workplaces championing Navy.

CLASP is an important element of Fleet Command’s community engagement strategy and has been running since 2017.