Passing of the gauntlet

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Mark Flowerdew (author), ABIS Alan Lancaster (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

Topic(s): 725 Squadron, Change of Command

Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander David Frost, RAN, disembarks a Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Romeo helicopter prior to his handover to Commander Matthew Royals. (photo: ABIS Alan Lancaster)
Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander David Frost, RAN, disembarks a Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Romeo helicopter prior to his handover to Commander Matthew Royals.

The Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm has had a changing of the guard with 725 Squadron welcoming a new Commanding Officer in early December.

Commander David Frost handed the weight to Commander Matthew Royals for the Seahawk Romeo Squadron which was established in Jacksonville, Florida, in February 2013.

Commander Frost was flown from his home in Gerringong for a final mission in the Nowra local area and on arrival, he was greeted at the squadron by his family, the Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm, Captain Shane Craig, and current 725 and 816 Squadron members prior to handover of Command.

2015 was significant year for the team, with 725 Squadron re-commissioning the Fleet Air Arm in June, their squadron motto is “Be Aggressive” and crest depicts a winged gauntlet, or glove.

Commander Frost has been at the helm since 2013 and has ensured that his team have delivered a sustainable and capable training squadron for MH-60R aircrew and maintenance personnel.

New Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matthew Royals, RAN, right, receives the ceremonial gauntlet from departing Commanding Officer Commander David Frost, RAN, during the handover ceremony.

New Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matthew Royals, RAN, right, receives the ceremonial gauntlet from departing Commanding Officer Commander David Frost, RAN, during the handover ceremony.

During his tenure the Squadron conducted initial introduction into service training with the US Navy; took delivery of its first four aircraft and operated alongside US Navy squadrons in Jacksonville, Florida; fired 15 hellfire missiles and three Mk54 torpedoes, returned to Australia accepted a further 12 aircraft into service and graduated the first fully Australian trained aircrew and maintenance personnel.

“I wish to thank every single one of my team for their support and tireless efforts in what has been a period of great change,” Commander Frost said.

“I have no doubt that you will support Commander Royals with the same enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism which makes this squadron such an asset to the Navy.”

Recently, the Squadron has also supported the first two MH-60R embarked flights, which were formally transferred to 816 Squadron as part of the Change of Command ceremony.

Commander Royals was a previous Commanding Officer of 805 Squadron prior to its decommissioning, and his last job was Deputy Director Navy Aviation.

Commander Frost is taking up a new post in Canberra in 2016 as Deputy Director Maritime Aviation.