The ship’s company of HMAS Albatross paraded for inspection by Reviewing Officer, Rear Admiral Anthony Dalton and HMAS Albatross Commanding Officer, Captain Gordon Andrew, in the long-standing tradition of Ceremonial Divisions on Friday 1 November 2013.
A very special guest was Lady Nannette Smith, widow of the man considered the founding father of the Fleet Air Arm, Admiral Sir Victor Smith. When, the then Captain Smith, assumed command of Albatross in 1957 he insisted on the regular parading of Divisions. With its emphasis on immaculate dress, bearing and discipline, Admiral Sir Victor Smith considered the parading an excellent way of building esprit de corp.
Lady Smith said a lot has changed since her husband’s tenure as Commanding Officer, but as a man remembered for his insistence on keeping everything “ship shape and in Bristol fashion”, Admiral Sir Victor Smith would be pleased to see the way HMAS Albatross has developed over the years.
Addressing the 700 Albatross personnel and guests Captain Andrew said this process of improving and building the capability of HMAS Albatross remains a priority.
“The opening of the 170 new accommodation units last month, the upcoming commencement of the new Romeo helicopter facility, the work of the Albatross redevelopment and the helicopter training system projects, and the future development of the Fleet Air Arm Museum in conjunction with the Historic Air Restoration Society are all testament to the ongoing place of Albatross as one of the most important defence establishments of the Commonwealth.”
Captain Andrew said another vital development over the years has been the strengthening of Albatross’s role in the wider local community.
“Through the efforts of many people, our links across the broad spectrum of life in the Shoalhaven - political, cultural, sporting and economic – have been forged and strengthened.
“These bonds show in many different ways, but given the events of the past few weeks I would particularly like to emphasise the very important relationship between the regional emergency services and Albatross.
“There is nothing more important than the preservation of lives and property, and supporting the agencies, such as the rural fire service, that are charged with that responsibility is a vital role that underscores our place in the community," said Captain Andrew.
“Ceremonial Divisions also provides a valuable opportunity for recognising the service of those on parade.”
Rear Admiral Tony Dalton commended the assembled personnel for their role in supporting the Fleet Air Arm to provide capability to the Australian Defence Force and also made a number of individual presentations.
These included the Shark 02 awards which he presented to Leading Seaman Aircrewman Cory Wright for Best Performance in Operational Flying Training, SBLT Brody Marris for Best Performance in Pilot Rotary Course, LEUT Mark Packer for Best Performance in Aviation Warfare Officer Rotary Course, Leading Seaman Aircrewman Richard Clark for Best Performance in Aircrewman Rotary Course.
Warrant Officer Andrew Parker also received a commendation for 40 years service and LCDR Roger Brook The Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.