HMAS Sydney’s junior officers under training hone their station-keeping skills

Published on LEUT Grant McDuling (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Sydney (IV)

Commanding Officer HMAS Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann on the port bridge wing of HMAS Sydney during officer of the watch manoeuvres in company with the US Navy destroyer, USS Momsen. (photo: LSIS Peter Thompson)
Commanding Officer HMAS Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann on the port bridge wing of HMAS Sydney during officer of the watch manoeuvres in company with the US Navy destroyer, USS Momsen.

HMAS Sydney’s junior officers were put through their paces under the watchful eye of the Ship’s Commanding Officer, CMDR Karl Brinckmann, in rainy weather off Japan when the ship joined up at sea with the United States Navy’s Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer USS Momsen.

The exercise in bridgemanship was part of HMAS Sydney’s embed into the US Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group and was an invaluable training opportunity for members of the ship’s company.

According to CMDR Brinckmann, it’s exercises like these that help skill the Navy’s Officers of the future.

“Working in company at sea is the future for our navy,” CMDR Brinckmann said.

“Once we take delivery of our two new Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock ships and our new Air Warfare Destroyers, the way we operate at sea will change. Instead of operating predominantly as individual units, we will operate as part of a task group and exercises such as this will stand our up-and-coming group of watch keepers in good stead.”

Acting Sub Lieutenant Matthew Graney uses a Stuarts Marine Distance Meter to determine the range of HMAS Sydney from the US Navy destroyer USS Momsen during officer of the watch manoeuvres.

Acting Sub Lieutenant Matthew Graney uses a Stuarts Marine Distance Meter to determine the range of HMAS Sydney from the US Navy destroyer USS Momsen during officer of the watch manoeuvres.

Acting Sub Lieutenant Matthew Graney found station keeping with the US destroyer to be very rewarding.

“My job was to assist the Officer of the Watch to keep station with the American ship, and to perform dynamic operations such as wheeling in formation and exchanging positions," SBLT Graney said.

Acting Sub Lieutenant Naomi Gammon on the bridge of HMAS Sydney.

Acting Sub Lieutenant Naomi Gammon on the bridge of HMAS Sydney.

“Being able to practice these maneouvers in a training situation at sea with a ship from a foreign navy was an awesome experience.” Acting Sub Lieutenant Naomi Gammon agreed.

“Staying calm and in control amid all the activity that takes place on the bridge at times like these is what it is all about,” she said.

“My job was to keep watch on the bridge wing and monitor the distance between the two ships. Having a precise understanding of this allows the Officer of the Watch to more accurately and dynamically plan what to do next and when to do it.”