HMAS Hobart (II) may have decommissioned 18 years ago, but Randall Wilson remembers his times as a ‘Ghost rider’ as some of the best of his life.
The former sailor, now artist, resides in the city of Hobart and joined the ship’s company of the newest Hobart at an official reception to present a large painting of all three ships to carry the name.
The painting depicts all three Hobarts sailing in company, capturing the operational service of the three ships over an 80 year period.
Mr Wilson implored the assembled officers and sailors to enjoy their experiences at sea, saying that he and his former shipmates spent a 2017 reunion reminiscing about being at sea together.
“The common theme I recall of that reunion is ‘the best days of our lives’,” he said.
“Some of you have joined the Navy as a career, some of you are passing through, but I will tell you this: in 30 or 40 years time, when you have your reunion, the common language will be that you enjoyed the best days of your lives on this ship and you’ll know that you too are ‘Ghost riders’.”
Commanding Officer Hobart (III), Captain John Stavridis, said the painting would be assigned pride of place onboard the ship.
“It is an important piece that captures our rich operational heritage and culture and reminds serving members of the legacy that we have inherited”, he said.
“We have the baton and all of us look forward to serving our nation as proudly as our forebears did.”
The guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart is based in Sydney and will spend much of 2018 completing first-of-class trials ahead of being declared ready to deploy.