Cadet of the Year visits HMAS Newcastle

Published on SBLT Melissa Vaarwerk (author and photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, NSW

Topic(s): Australian Navy Cadets, HMAS Newcastle (F06)

2013 Cadet of the Year, Nicholas Gamash sitting in the helmsman chair onboard HMAS Newcastle. (photo: SBLT Melissa Vaarwerk)
2013 Cadet of the Year, Nicholas Gamash sitting in the helmsman chair onboard HMAS Newcastle.

On Saturday 10 May, the Director Royal Australian Navy Test, Evaluation & Acceptance Authority, Captain John Vandyke, took the 2013 Naval Cadet of the year, Nicholas Gamash, onboard HMAS Newcastle. The two were joined by Captain Vandyke’s son, Alec, Nicholas’s father, John, and aspiring sailor Itsarwat Tahaprom.

The purpose of the visit was to show the teenagers around a Royal Australian Navy warship as they consider a career in Royal Australian Navy on completion of their studies. Itsarwat Tahaprom would like to join the Navy as a Boatswains Mate and said “it was great to see what it’s really like on a Navy ship.”

The three young men thoroughly enjoyed the extensive tour of the ship which included the weapon launchers, ship’s sensors, the bridge, operations room, galley and the different the accommodation compartments.

“The young Cadet was slightly overwhelmed but I know it was a fantastic experience for him that he will always remember.

“It was also of enormous benefit to my son’s friend, Itsarwat, who is planning on joining next year as a Boatswains Mate. He now has some real context on what it is all about, and importantly, is probably keener now that he has seen where he will work one day,” Captain Vandyke said.

Captain Vandyke served in HMAS Sydney (IV) in 1983, as part of her commissioning crew. He then served at sea in a variety of postings in guided missile destroyers, destroyer escorts and Sydney for two more postings. These postings included periods as an Officer of the Watch, Air Intercept Controller and Principal Warfare Officer (Direction). As a result of his long career, the senior officer had plenty of quality ‘warries’ to share with the aspiring sailors and Newcastle’s Officer of the Day and Assistant Officer of the Day about his time in Sydney which were easily relatable to the two members of Newcastle’s crew, because both ships are Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates.

Newcastle has recently completed DSRA 7, which is an extensive maintenance period of over six months in duration. Over the next few months, her crew will be working tirelessly through Mariner Skills evaluations, Ship’s Qualification Trials and Unit Readiness Evaluations to prepare the ship for a scheduled deployment to the north of Australia.