Last weekend while alongside the port of Townsville, the crew of HMAS Choules was honoured to open their ship to the families of the men and women of the Army's Second Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, known as 2RAR.
Over 200 visitors crossed the mighty ship's gangway to have a look around and find out how their friends and family have been living and working over the last week while on Exercise SEA DAWN in North Queensland.
The 2RAR members guided their families around Choules, with the ships company at the ready to answer questions from the visitors. The most popular areas to see were the embarked forces quarters, the dining hall, bridge and the well dock.
Many soldiers took the time to explain to their families what their role is when they are onboard the ship as well as the equipment they use during the exercise and operations.
When embarked in Choules, 2RAR is part of the joint approach to amphibious operations. They are the core battalion that supports the Amphibious Ready Element, a joint task force training for air, land and sea operations.
One of the 2RAR soldiers and host for the day was Private Scott Cassidy.
“I brought my family, Jade and Jodi Taylor and niece and nephew Riley and Abbi Taylor aboard and gave them an up-close tour of 2RAR’s embarked vehicles. I also showed them around my Mack ‘R Series’ cargo truck.”
“Choules did not fail to impress the public with capability and capacity,” Private Cassidy said.
“Many of the visitors, including my family, were surprised at how communal everything is and how much equipment Choules can carry.
“My nephew, Riley (aged eight), could not get over the size of Choules. I think he was in awe, continually saying “the ship is huge”.”
Private Cassidy said his family really enjoyed the tour, particularly seeing his truck, along with where he lives and what it is like moving around a Royal Australian Navy vessel.
“All in all I am really enjoying life aboard Choules and am very excited for the next phase of the exercise.”
During the Exercise SEA DAWN, all three services of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are coming together to conduct the joint amphibious training in the Halifax Bay and Cowley Beach Training Areas in North Queensland.
SEA DAWN provides Navy, Army and Air Force personnel with the chance to work closely together and develop critical skills necessary for the ADF's development of a joint capability, which will soon be able to execute the full spectrum of amphibious operations.
Exercise SEA DAWN commenced on 24 March and will continue through 17 April 2014.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140400.