Cadets and staff at Training Ship Darwin were recently privileged to receive a visit from the Royal Australian Navy’s Director Australian Navy Cadets, Commander Stuart Wheeler.
Many Navy personnel from Fleet Logistics Support Element Darwin, the Patrol Boat Group and HMAS Coonawarra also joined in on the visit.
Following a Colours ceremony, the Director and the Commanding Officer of HMAS Coonawarra, Commander Darren Rushworth, inspected the ship’s company.
Then everyone gathered by the new power boat delivered to the Cadet unit, for the official blessing and naming ceremony.
The blessing was led by Chaplain Shaun Foster, who also gave a brief explanation of why the name ‘Phoenix’ was chosen for the boat.
The boat was named Phoenix as a symbolic link to the ship’s crest of the now decommissioned HMAS Darwin.
The opportunity was also taken to name the Cadet’s newly reconditioned Polycraft Arrow, in memory of the Attack Class Patrol Boat HMAS Arrow that was tragically destroyed and sunk at Stokes Hill Wharf during Cyclone Tracy in 1974.
Commander Wheeler also presented some special promotions, including Cadet Rhys Harley’s promotion to Cadet Petty Officer, which was followed by some new Director Australian Navy Cadets ‘Excellence Awards’.
The awards went to:
Citizenship Award: Cadet Leading Seamen Jemma Beyer and Alyssa Tebag - for going above and beyond in volunteering for all external ceremonies and community events.
Most Improved Cadet: Cadet Seaman Brandon Baxter who, since joining in February 2019, had shown strong leadership ability, was fully involved and great team player.
Staff Recognition: Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Ric Mingramm for his ongoing support of Cadets, bookings for events and Cadet training.
After the formalities, parents and unit supporters stayed for a BBQ dinner and chatted with Commander Wheeler.
The Cadets then led two challenging activity-based learning sessions, one of which relied on non-verbal communication. Commander Wheeler participated in all of the activities and commented that he had “never seen Cadets so quiet before.”
Following the parade, Commander Wheeler congratulated Training Ship Darwin.
“I am very pleased that Navy purchased a new powerboat for TS Darwin.
“This is a great addition to their training assets and will enable the Cadets to enjoy more on-water activities.
“It was an impressive parade this evening, the Cadets were well turned-out and it provided a good opportunity to meet with some of them.
“I was also delighted to see such support from the Commanding Officer of HMAS Coonawarra and other Navy members from Fleet Logistics Support Element - Darwin, Fleet Support Unit - Darwin and the Patrol Boat Group,” he said.
Commander Wheeler, himself a former Commanding Officer of HMAS Coonawarra (2006-2007), joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1981. He served in Western Australia-based frigates, Fleet Logistics and Joint Logistics Command before becoming the Director of the Australian Navy Cadets in December 2018.