Success-ful change of command

Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney

The outgoing Commanding Officer, HMAS Success, Captain Justin Jones, RAN (left), and his successor Commander Michael Letts, RAN, sign the ships log during a handover ceremony conducted aboard HMAS Success, at Fleet Base East. (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
The outgoing Commanding Officer, HMAS Success, Captain Justin Jones, RAN (left), and his successor Commander Michael Letts, RAN, sign the ships log during a handover ceremony conducted aboard HMAS Success, at Fleet Base East.

Commander Michael Letts had to hit the ground running when he took over as the Commanding Officer of HMAS Success recently.

Within days of taking the 'weight', Commander Letts led his ship's company of 235 into an intense period of training and assessment for routine operations and specific tasks - no small endeavour given 70 per cent of the crew was also new to the ship.
 
A month later, Success has been certified as 'mission ready' and has deployed to South East Asia.
 
Commander Letts, who replaced Captain Justin Jones, said he was proud of the crew’s achievements and told them to embrace the challenges that lie ahead.
 
“I am very proud and professionally humbled to join Success, which has a fine tradition throughout the fleet,” Commander Letts said. 

“Every single one of us has a specific role in this unique national strategic asset and we should never forget that. 

“I encourage you to embrace the challenges which will be dealt us on a day-to-day basis, either as individuals, small teams or as the whole-of-ship community, especially throughout the upcoming deployment.”
 
Commander Letts was previously the Head of Command, Navigation and Littoral Warfare at Training Authority – Maritime Warfare in HMAS Watson, Sydney. He was also the Commanding Officer of the Darwin-based patrol boat crew, Attack One.
 
Captain Jones wished his successor well. He said Commander Letts had inherited a professional and disciplined crew.
 
 “It has been an enormous privilege to work alongside great people over the past 18 months and achieve good things for the Navy and the Australian Defence Force,” Captain Jones said. 

“It is our people that make the ship.”

Captain Jones was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for outstanding devotion to duty as Commanding Officer HMAS Success while deployed on to the Middle East from December 2014 to April 2015.