Training across the Tasman

This article has photo gallery Published on Lieutenant Kara Wansbury (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): Auckland, New Zealand

Personnel from HMAS Dechaineux conduct a damage control exercise during a passage (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Personnel from HMAS Dechaineux conduct a damage control exercise during a passage

The crew of HMAS Dechaineux made good use of their recent transit to New Zealand, conducting collective training and qualifying five submariners.

Having recently achieved unit readiness, the ship's company spent the Tasman Sea crossing consolidating their skills, which Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Justin Cloney said was important to ensure the crew remained at the required standard.

“Our priority is to keep the personnel and submarine safe; and we achieve this by practicing scenarios, which develop our people,” Lieutenant Commander Cloney said 

“Command has identified that if the first reaction goes well, it stands the rest of the crew in good stead to battle whatever we throw at them."

Individual training had a part to play too with Commanding Officer Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty qualifying five new submariners.  

After spending time training at state of the art premises at the Submarine Training School, the sailors came to sea onboard the Collins class submarine.

Able Seaman Ryan Brooks, a newly qualified Maritime Logistics-Chef Submariner said it was a challenging process but being awarded submarine sea qualification made it worthwhile. 

“It was hard work but I felt so relieved when I received my dolphins. The Commanding Officer told me it was another step in the continuing process of learning about my boat and being a submariner,” Able Seaman Brooks said. 

Life at sea for submariners is not all hard work though.  With a United States Navy submariner onboard for the first time, Halloween became a celebrated day. Sonar Officer, Lieutenant Nathan Whitelaw, USN, and Signal Communication Officer, Lieutenant Martin Gillett used their off watch time to deliver candy to their shipmates.

“Being onboard an Australian submarine crossing the Tasman Sea to New Zealand was a great way to celebrate my favourite holiday,” Lieutenant Whitelaw said.

The USN and Australian submarine communities have a close relationship with exchanges being conducted regularly to increase interoperability.