The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Anzac sailed in early December with almost 252 family and friends embarked for a family sea day - the ship’s way of saying thanks to those special to them for their support in 2014 and into 2015.
With the ship’s company having been away for ten months of 2014, and set to undertake a global deployment in 2015, many of the crew members have spent little time in their ‘home port’ of Sydney.
Anzac’s outgoing Commanding Officer, Commander Matthew Doornbos reflected on the significance of the day.
“As crew members pursue a Naval career, the support of family and friends is essential.
“A family sea day is traditionally an opportunity to show off the ship, and with Anzac having emerged from a major upgrade in 2014 this is our opportunity to put the results of our efforts on display.
“As the Anzac crew prepares for our deployment next year, this day is also a great opportunity for families to have a picture of where their loved ones are living and working while deployed,” Commander Doornbos said.
“We have a significant number of new crew members who are undertaking their first long sea deployment, so this is something very special for their families.”
This sentiment was reflected by many of the embarked family members, including Mrs Monica McIntyre, wife of the leader of Anzac’s embarked contingent of the Navy Band, Leading Seaman Bruce McIntyre.
“Today has been a great opportunity for me to learn about where Bruce is going to be living and working when he goes to sea next year, to get a picture in my head of where he’ll be living.
“Having seen demonstrations of so many aspects of what happens on a warship I am impressed at how much all the crew members have to know in order to do their job,” Mrs McIntyre said.
The day commenced with crew members bringing their families aboard at Fleet Base East, while the Band played jazz and rock music on the ship’s flight deck, before the traditional ‘Colours’ ceremony at 8:00am.
As Anzac sailed from Fleet Base East, the embarked family members viewed various traditions, including ‘piping the side’, before the ship departed Sydney Harbour, leading a formation that also consisted of HMA Ships Melbourne and Gascoyne.
Out at sea various demonstrations of naval work were undertaken, including helicopter operations by Anzac’s embarked Squirrel from 723 Squadron, firing of the 12.7mm guns, damage control exercises and lunch, where family, friends and crew shared a classic fish and chips meal.
An important part of the day saw some personnel being recognised for their achievements in front of their loved ones, including Lieutenant Dan James being awarded his Platform Endorsement as an Officer of the Watch, and Sub Lieutenants Nicholas Adriaanse, Jack Brodie and Rebecca Holmes being promoted to Lieutenant.
For the three promotions, new Lieutenant rank slides were proudly put onto the recipients by Commander Doornbos and a member of each recipient’s family. For newly promoted Lieutenant Holmes, her father Brigadier Mark Holmes, was proud to join Commander Doornbos is putting on her rank slides.
“This is my first time on a Navy ship at sea, and I’ve enjoyed the whole experience.
“It has been a really good day, and its great for families to get a feel for what it is like to go to sea.
“For me it has been doubly rewarding to see Bec receive her promotion,” Brigadier Holmes said.
Anzac will continue her preparations to deploy in early 2015, during which she will represent Australia at commemorations in Gallipoli in April.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143709.