Editor's Note: Please note that this activity took place before COVID-19 social distancing restrictions were put in place. Defence is currently following whole-of-government guidance from the Department of Health in relation to COVID-19. For more information on Defence's response to COVID-19, visit https://news.defence.gov.au/national/defence-response-covid-19.
Personnel at HMAS Albatross have been recognised for a range of achievements, with awards and medals presented by Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, during a recent visit.
723 Squadron was presented with the prestigious McNicoll Trophy, an annual award presented to the Squadron which has excelled in all aspects of aviation operations, safety, reliability and unit level training.
808 Squadron’s Petty Officer Aviation Technician Aircraft Scott Anderson was also recognised, in his case with a Fleet Commander’s Silver Commendation in recognition of his innovation in resolving a problem with the MRH-90's tail rotor.
Lieutenant Commander Wendy Ross was presented with the Federation Star for 40 years of service and Albatross Command Warrant Officer Gary Fuss for 35 years.
Reflecting on this milestone, Warrant Officer Fuss said the ability to serve others has made his career worthwhile.
“I originally joined because I had the desire to serve a cause larger than anything of my own and to have the opportunity to work with people who had the same views as mine and, of course, the chance to travel and see things others dream of.”
I’ve had too many roles and highlights to list, but the main one has been being able to serve others and to assist them achieve their desires,” Warrant Officer Fuss said.
Fleet Air Arm Business Manager Mr Phillip Black received the Defence Secretaries Long Service Award for 30 years of service in the Australian Public Service and Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Don Dezentje, received his third clasp for 30 years of service.
Presenting the clasp, Rear Admiral Mead thanked Commodore Dezentje for his distinguished service record and his recent commitment to Australian Defence Force bushfire relief efforts.
“Your leadership and commitment over the last three months was remarkable,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“It’s not easy to carry that responsibility over such a long period, but you did it with tenacity and zeal, and always with that birdie smile,” the Fleet Commander said.
Fleet Commander also had a personal message of thanks for Albatross personnel.
“Last year when I was here, we were talking about capability, what Navy was up to and major exercises.
“Now, nine months later, I come with a different message, borne out by what the people of this base did, not just during the bushfires of Christmas and New Year, but since November last year,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“Albatross was the locus for Australian Defence Force rotary wing support during that very dark period.
“Talking to people this morning I was struck by the profound realisation of how great our people are.
“The squadrons flew 640 hours over this period, supported by industry, the Estate and Infrastructure Group and family and friends, allowing you to support your fellow citizens.” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“I wanted to tell you in person how proud I am to have you working alongside me in the Fleet.
“You are extraordinary people who have done an unbelievable job on behalf of all Australians,” he said.