Newly promoted Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Benjamin Smith is proud to be the first sailor to be posted to all three of the Royal Australian Navy’s newest and most capable warships, the Guided Missile Destroyers HMA Ships Hobart (III), Brisbane (III) and NUSHIP Sydney.
Having commissioned the first two Destroyers, he is very excited to be joining the commissioning crew of Sydney and putting his vast knowledge and experience into practice.
“Commissioning a ship is no small challenge, it will be hard work, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of your career,” Chief Petty Officer Smith said.
Chief Smith is also no stranger to serving under the name ‘Sydney’, having completed two postings on the previous Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Sydney (IV) which bore the same name, including being part of the ship’s decommissioning crew in 2015.
“As I was previously a Sydney sailor and “once a Sydney sailor always a Sydney sailor,” I am so excited to just be part of the Sydney legacy.
“It’s hard to explain, once you’ve served on Sydney you just know - it isn’t just the ship, it’s the culture, it’s the attitude, it’s the crew.
“I just endeavour to live up to her name and remain ‘Thorough and Ready,” Chief Petty Officer Smith said, referring to the Sydney’s motto.
Chief Smith has benefited from some rare opportunities since joining the ‘Destroyer family’ in 2017.
While serving in the Surface Combatant Group Destroyer Capability Element, he sailed in the Spanish Navy Destroyer Cristobal Colon to gain platform familiarisation and training.
His posting to Hobart was as the platform hull and damage control supervisor, during which time he was awarded his Machinery Systems Manager qualification. This was a very busy period for Chief Smith and Hobart, bringing the platform into service and participating in First of Class Trials.
He then posted to HMAS Brisbane in mid-2018.
“This came with its own challenges, but I was able to take lessons from HMAS Hobart and use them to improve on our processes and procedures as a ship class.”
Chief Smith returned to Hobart for their Combat Systems Sea Qualification Trials off the west coast of the United States in late 2018.
This was a milestone period for the ship, proving the Aegis Weapons System capability through the firing of all weapon systems against realistic threat targets.
“This was an invaluable experience, being able to both witness HMAS Hobart’s missile firings and conducting maintenance that is usually passed onto contractors,” he said.
Being a Marine Technician, Chief Smith’s other main task was to review the ship’s maintenance package in preparation for the Post Delivery Upgrade for 2019.
Sydney is the final of three ships of the Hobart class Guided Missile Destroyers and is currently in the later stages of construction at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. She is due to be commissioned in 2020.