Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer met HMAS Newcastle in Jervis Bay in the first week of March to review the ship’s readiness to deploy on Operation MANITOU.
The visit included the opportunity for Rear Admiral Mayer to view boarding party operations, damage control exercises, and speak with ship’s company.
During a brief to Newcastle’s crew, Rear Admiral Mayer emphasised the importance of the ship’s pre-deployment training.
He stated that this training, and the ship’s subsequent performance on operation, is essential to maintaining the Royal Australian Navy’s reputation.
“I want you to be so ruthlessly professional that when people think of the Royal Australian Navy they think of the toughest medium-sized Navy in the world. Achieving this reputation starts with us having confidence in each other and committing to continual improvement in our skills and teamwork.”
The visit also provided an opportunity for Rear Admiral Mayer to present a number of medals to Newcastle’s crew, conduct a promotion ceremony and present a certificate of appreciation for 20 years service. During the presentation, Rear Admiral Mayer reinforced that the medals are not only a reflection of the member’s service, but also the sacrifices of their friends and family back home.
“Navy often recruits singles, but we retain families. These medals are just as much your family’s as they are yours. We cannot deploy without the support of our families and friends; and these medals recognise their sacrifice as much as your own," he said.
Newcastle’s crew have been put through their paces by Sea Training Group since sailing from Sydney at the start of the month. This has included exercising a number of scenarios such as boarding operations, force protection, and damage control to combat toxic hazards, fires and floods. These scenarios are designed to test the crew’s Mission Readiness to deploy on Operation MANITOU, the Australian Government's contribution to maritime security, counter-piracy and counter-terrorism in the Middle East region.
After Mission Readiness certification the crew will return to Sydney for a well earned rest. Newcastle will deploy on Operation MANITOU in early April 2015.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20150545.