Since 1968, the prestigious McNicoll Trophy has been awarded annually to the Royal Australian Navy helicopter squadron which has excelled in all aspects of aviation operations, safety, reliability and unit level training.
This year the trophy was awarded to 808 Squadron, which flies the MRH-90 multi-role helicopter.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, presented the award to Squadron Commanding Officer, Commander Adrian Capner, during a recent visit to HMAS Albatross.
“The attitude of 808 Squadron has been fantastic," Rear Admiral said.
“Your desire to make this capability work has been first rate and has been much commented on.
“Your dedication and hard work can be seen by the maintenance availability and flying rate, and the Squadron’s ability to get this aircraft to sea and on operations has been impressive.”
Afterwards, Commander Capner said that it was gratifying to see the tireless efforts of his personnel over the last 12 months recognised with the presentation of the award.
“It’s been a very high tempo time for us and we have achieved some significant milestones.
“We are particularly proud of the Squadron’s rapid response to humanitarian assistance tasking for Operation PHILLIPINES ASSIST, following Tropical Cyclone Haiyan and Operation PACIFIC ASSIST earlier this year in response to Cyclone Pam.
“On both occasions the Squadron was able to embark within 48 hours and provide continuous service throughout.
"This clearly demonstrated the versatility and reliability of the MRH-90 and the professionalism of the crews.
“808 Squadron worked hard to achieve the Operational Capability Maritime 1 qualification and we received this just in time to time to deploy for Operation PACIFIC ASSIST.
“The qualification allowed us a greater range of flying operations, and our contribution to both operations proved invaluable with the MRH-90 helicopter providing a reliable and efficient means of distributing supplies, providing medical help and accessing remote communities.
“Most recently 808 Squadron supported Navy’s role in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE, where they provided essential logistical support, in both a ship-to-ship, and ship-to-shore environment and supporting front line operations. During the exercise we also completed a record number of cross deck landings on US ships."
Earlier in the year aircrew and maintainers conducted navigation training and support to the Reserve Clearance Diving Team in Tasmania; in June we supported Army’s 8th Brigade during training serials at Singleton Barracks and were involved in the first phase of helicopter trials at sea with HMAS Canberra.
“None of this would have been possible without the commitment of the men and women who serve on 808 Squadron and our support networks and I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to add receiving the McNicoll Trophy to our list of accomplishments,” Commander Capner said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152108.