Australia’s ‘Fighting Felines’ combine

Published on LEUT Andrew Herring (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Topic(s): 816 Squadron, HMAS Perth (F157), HMAS Perth (I)

Royal Australian Navy sailors Able Seaman Cryptologic Systems Jennifer Kennon and Leading Seaman Aircrewman Dan Colbert stand together on HMAS Perth's flight deck in front of embarked Seahawk helicopter 'Tiger 80' from 816 Squadron. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
Royal Australian Navy sailors Able Seaman Cryptologic Systems Jennifer Kennon and Leading Seaman Aircrewman Dan Colbert stand together on HMAS Perth's flight deck in front of embarked Seahawk helicopter 'Tiger 80' from 816 Squadron.

When a Seahawk helicopter and its team of aircrew and maintainers from 816 Squadron joined the Upgraded Anzac Class frigate HMAS Perth for training at sea, it was a perfect marriage of traditions, mascots and mottos.

Perth brought to the union her motto 'Fight and Flourish' and her mascot 'Red Lead' - the legendary ship's cat from the World War II era HMAS Perth (I) who was described as 'unkillable' for its tendency to survive against the odds.

The 19-strong 816 Squadron team brought Seahawk helicopter 'Tiger 80', along with the squadron's tiger mascot and motto: 'Imitate the action of the Tiger'.

So what do you get when you put these two units together? Answer: 'fighting felines!'

Together, the 'fighting felines' are practicing their war fighting skills at sea with a cunning tenacity that does credit to their respective unit's mottos, mascots and proud histories.

HMAS Perth Commanding Officer, Captain Lee Goddard, says the permanent ship's company and embarked flight teams have integrated together well.

“The ship's company of Perth has welcomed the opportunity to embark a flight and the 816 Squadron detachment members have integrated well into the ship, forming an effective team of 'fighting felines'”, CAPT Goddard said.

Royal Australian Navy aircrew from 816 Squadron, Nowra, gather for a group photo with their Seahawk helicopter 'Tiger 80' on the flight deck of Perth during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013.

Royal Australian Navy aircrew from 816 Squadron, Nowra, gather for a group photo with their Seahawk helicopter 'Tiger 80' on the flight deck of Perth during Exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2013.