United States Navy ship USS Kidd arrived into Sydney Harbour this week to conduct training with HMAS Sydney and experience Australia during a three day port visit.
The visit is timely, the ship arriving the same day that NUSHIP Brisbane's keel laying ceremony occurred in Adelaide. NUSHIP Brisbane, the second of three planned Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), will have the same advanced combat system, Aegis, as USS Kidd. The visit will enable RAN sailors to have exposure to the system ahead of the entry of into service of the first AWD (to be known as HMAS Hobart), which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
It’s a long way from home for the 370 personnel who are based out of San Diego.
The ship’s Public Affairs Officer, Ensign (ENS) Brooke Schaffer said this is the first time the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer has visited Australia.
“The Kidd crew is particularly excited about our visit to Sydney and is looking forward to experiencing the rich culture, different wildlife and local cuisine of Australia as well as visiting major sites such as the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Tower,” ENS Schaffer said.
“Australia is an exotic place to many of our crew members and all are excited to engross ourselves in a new culture with many of the crew certainly hoping to meet a kangaroo and a koala.”
In addition to Sydney’s tourist attractions, the US Ship's Company are looking forward to working with the Royal Australian Navy and in particular the guided missile frigate, HMAS Sydney.
“The crew of USS Kidd is greatly looking forward to working with the Australian Navy and more specifically, to share common tactical knowledge and work jointly with our Combat Systems teams to advance joint tactics, techniques, and procedures between our two nations,” said Commanding Officer of USS Kidd, Commander Gabe Varela.
“Through this interaction, the crew hopes to share our knowledge both culturally and operationally with HMAS Sydney and also to gain the same in return.”
Another highlight of the visit will be when US personnel compete against Royal Australian Navy members in a basketball game at Garden Island, in Sydney.