HMAS Choules, together with Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Jesse Palmer, achieved a significant milestone recently as both reached the milestone of 1,000 flight deck landings.
On 30 November Leading Seaman Palmer, performing marshalling duties, directed the landing of a helicopter on the flight deck of Choules. It was the 1,000th landing on an Australian warship in his career as a Flight Deck Marshaller.
The milestone was shared in part by the ship, which only 12 hours earlier had achieved 1,000 helicopter deck landings for the 2017 calendar year.
Leading Seaman Palmer said it was an honour to achieve the milestone in Choules after a very busy year.
“We took part in two humanitarian and disaster relief operations in 2017, as well as international and domestic exercises,” he said.
In February 2017, Choules responded to communities in need in the wake of Cyclone Debbie in North Queensland and again in October with the evacuation of residents threatened by an erupting volcano from Ambae Island, Vanuatu.
“It was very rewarding to be able to assist communities affected by these natural disasters, particularly using our aviation assets to provide food, water and medical supplies,” Leading Seaman Palmer said.
Ship’s Aviation Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Whanslaw, said 2017 had been particularly busy, with Leading Seaman Palmer’s performance significantly adding to Choules’ aviation success.
“All members of the ship’s company, not just the aviation department, have contributed to the success of these activities and should feel justifiably proud of what Choules has achieved.”
Leading Seaman Palmer joined the Navy in 2006. Upon completing his initial training he was posted to 816 Squadron on the S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft. He was posted to Flight 5 embarked in HMA Ships Parramatta and Newcastle.
Since joining Choules in October 2014 he worked across Operations RENDER SAFE, RESOLUTE, QUEENSLAND ASSIST, and VANUATU ASSIST, plus Exercises SEA EXPLORER, TALISMAN SABRE, and SOUTHERN KATIPO.
Whilst performing duties as Flight Deck Marshaller he has worked with a wide range of rotary wing aircraft from Squirrels to Seahawks, Blackhawks, the MRH-90 Taipan through to the CH-47 Chinook and civilian rescue helicopters.
Leading Seaman Palmer will join 725 Squadron in March 2018.