HMAS Newcastle recently took the opportunity to thank friends and family of the ship for their support by inviting them onboard for a day at sea.
The day provided members of ship’s company the opportunity to share their life and experiences at sea and provide family members with an appreciation of what their loved ones will experience during Newcastle’s upcoming deployment to the Middle East.
The day commenced with Commanding Officer, Commander Dominic MacNamara, welcoming guests onboard followed by a safety brief so family members could understand the safety equipment utilised on Navy vessels.
Shortly after, Newcastle departed Fleet Base East, Sydney, and proceeded to sea, with a large number of families taking in the picturesque Sydney Harbour from the upper decks.
Once outside of the heads the ship conducted a man overboard exercise, conducted a flying demonstration with the embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk, followed by a wet winching demonstration where a member of ship’s company was winched from the sea into the helicopter.
Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Chris Mitchell operated the flight deck equipment during the flying operations and was joined by his wife Lauren.
“It was very exciting to join my husband in the Landing Safety Office and see it from his perspective rather than just hearing about it," she said.
“The whole day has been great and well organised with lots of activities to keep us busy and it’s a credit to all of the crew."
After the display, it was time to recharge with lunch cooked by the ship's talented chefs led by Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Chef Scott Smith.
Once the guests were fed and recharged it was time to observe a small arms firing display by Newcastle’s boatswains mates led by Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Ritson Carr.
Defence Community Organisation also briefed families on the services available to them while their loved ones are away on deployment. On completion, Chaplain Andrew Watters also briefed the family members on the care and support he will provide to the crew on deployment.
Toward the end of the day, New Zealand Navy ship, HMNZS Te Kaha joined Newcastle to conduct officer of the watch manoeuvres to display close quarters ship handling followed by both units proceeding into Sydney Harbour and berthing at Fleet Base East.
Newcastle is now preparing to deploy as part of Operation MANITOU in April.