The Australian International Airshow 2015 pays tribute to Anzac and the heroes of military aviation. It is the major theme of the event and as such will be the first significant observance of the Gallipoli campaign in its centenary year. The airshow features an emotional and moving tribute to our aviators from Gallipoli to the present day. During the Australian International Airshow, Navy Daily will highlight the significant contribution of naval aviators from the First World War to the present day.
During HMAS Stuart’s 2004 deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation CATALYST, the then Leading Seaman Aircrewman Benjamin Sime was serving as the sensor operator in Stuart’s embarked Seahawk helicopter.
On the night of 24 April 2004, terrorists in fishing dhows launched a series of determined attacks against Iraqi oil terminals. One dhow, packed with explosives, was detonated when a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) from USS Firebolt drew alongside to challenge it. Three American sailors were killed and four seriously wounded.
Stuart immediately rendered assistance, ordering her Seahawk to close Firebolt’s position. On approaching the scene, Sime observed that the RHIB had capsized and that all of its occupants were in the water. Following several unsuccessful attempts to get survivors into a rescue strop lowered from the helicopter a decision was made for Sime to enter the water and provide direct assistance. Moments after he did so, two further attacks were launched against the nearby oil terminals. Sime continued to provide support to survivors throughout the unfolding action until he was himself recovered by Stuart’s RHIB.
Leading Seaman Sime showed outstanding courage and remained dedicated to supporting a sailor in his care without regard for his own safety. His efforts were of the highest order and in the finest traditions of the RAN. In recognition of his deeds he was awarded the Medal for Gallantry.