HMAS Toowoomba has strengthened the Royal Australian Navy’s ties to international Navies after hosting personnel from the United Kingdom and New Zealand during Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 2018.
A junior officer from each country worked onboard the frigate during Navy’s premier fleet warfighting activity to conduct formal warfare training and aviation familiarisation respectively.
Ensign Sean Kerwick of the Royal New Zealand Navy has joined Toowoomba for a 12-month posting to complete training as a Maritime Warfare Officer.
“Working onboard Toowoomba has been brilliant, there’s an excellent command team and personnel of all ranks are helpful mentors,” he said.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the RAN for deployment experience and it’s great to be posted to this ship.
“I have learnt from the experience of working and functioning in a larger Navy and this will make me a better watchkeeper and officer in the long run.
Ensign Kerwick has already completed several stages of Maritime Warfare Training in Australia and will spend much of the year on deployment as part of the Toowoomba crew. He is from Whangarei in New Zealand’s North Island and says he is excited to experience deployments and visit overseas ports.
Sub Lieutenant Pilot trainee Callum Fitzsimons of the Royal Navy is on a 6-month posting to Australia and took the opportunity during OCEAN EXPLORER to spend time onboard Toowoomba. The ship’s helicopter capability enabled a familiarisation of flying operations throughout his two weeks at sea.
“Going to sea in HMAS Toowoomba and seeing how the aviation department operates has been the highlight of my time in Australia,” he said.
“Becoming a ‘birdy’ is the endgame for me when I finally get my wings back in the UK.
“I’m also excited to be in Australia for Anzac Day and do something special to commemorate this occasion.”
Sub Lieutenant Fitzsimons joined the Royal Navy in January 2016 and is the first of his family and friends to pursue a career in the military.
The Australian Defence Force work regularly with overseas partners for exercise and training opportunities.