Australian dream achieved for former US Sailor

Published on LEUT Ben Robinson (author), LCDR Mark Wilson (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Harman

Topic(s): HMAS Harman

Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander David Luck, meets with Mr John Frazier US Navy (Retd) during his visit to HMAS Harman. (photo: LCDR Mark Wilson)
Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander David Luck, meets with Mr John Frazier US Navy (Retd) during his visit to HMAS Harman.
Seventy-five years after HMAS Harman was commissioned as a Royal Australian Navy establishment, command has hosted a United States Navy veteran who served there in World War Two.
John Frazier, now 93 years old, had a dream of showing his family where he had served abroad with the United States Navy 75 years ago. His long-held ambition was finally realised when he toured HMAS Harman with his son James, his grandson James junior and 18 year old great-grandson Jayden.
Mr Frazier was posted to Harman as a US Navy Radio Operator in 1943 when the Royal Australian Navy establishment commissioned.
From 1942 until the end of the war, the communications station at Harman was manned by communications personnel from the RAN Shore Wireless service, Royal Australian Naval Reserve, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service and US Navy. Mr Frazier was stationed with about 30 other US Navy Radio Operators between 1943 and 1945.
Mr Frazier and his family were given a tour of Defence Communications Station - Canberra, located at HMAS Harman and were met by Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander David Luck.
The US Navy veteran said that when they were stationed at Harman, they operated two circuits: one a duplex with US Navy Honolulu and US Navy San Francisco, and the other with Noumea.
"We were the only unit that used the Royal Australian Navy callsign VHC, and I recall that the US Flag flew at the gangway with the White Ensign while our contingent was posted here.
"It has been a fantastic opportunity to be able to show my family firsthand where I was stationed during the war as this was such a significant part of my life. To be able to contrast that with how the communicators of today operate is a real privilege" said Mr Frazier.
Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander Luck said that it was timely that Mr Frazier's visit coincided with the 75th Anniversary of HMAS Harman's Commissioning.
"This year we are undertaking a range of activities to mark the 75th anniversary, and the visit by Mr Frazier provided today’s ship’s company an opportunity to interact with living history from the time Harman commissioned as an establishment," said Commander Luck.
To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the commissioning of HMAS Harman, a Winter Ball will be held in June, and a Freedom of Entry March will be conducted in Queanbeyan mid-year.