Historic clan rivalry helps bond HMAS Stuart

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Tanalee Smith (author), LSIS Tara Byrne (photographer)

Location(s): Guam, Micronesia

Topic(s): HMAS Stuart (F153), Soccer, Touch football

The crew of HMAS Stuart at the inaugural Clash of the Clans sports day during their port visit at the Blue Jacket Sports Field, Naval Base Guam. (photo: LSIS Tara Byrne)
The crew of HMAS Stuart at the inaugural Clash of the Clans sports day during their port visit at the Blue Jacket Sports Field, Naval Base Guam.

Four Scottish clans faced off last week, roaring their battle cries into the hills as points were scored, triumphs attained and new relationships forged.

HMAS Stuart’s inaugural Clash of the Clans sports day took place in decidedly un-Scottish terrain and temperature: at 9am it was 30 degrees with 69 percent humidity in Guam as the Bruce, Campbell, Douglas and Scott clans vied in soccer and touch footy battles.

The ship visited Guam as part of a Task Group participating in activities across North and South East Asia aimed at strengthening Australia’s regional defence engagement.

Leading Seaman Aviation Avionics Technician Russell Donovan was elected ‘laird’ of Clan Scott and was among the loudest cheerleaders for his team when off the field.

“The Clash of the Clans has been great for bonding across the ship,” he said.

“The clan organisation gives us an opportunity to speak to those we don’t normally talk to, get to know other people and their roles.”

Stuart established a unique Clan System in 2017 in order to promote inclusiveness, healthy competition and a whole ship attitude. Each clan is made up of members of all ranks and categories.

The sports day in Guam was the first Clan activity since the ship’s company swapped from HMAS Warramunga to Stuart in June.

The system is led by junior sailors, who are responsible for the administration and management of their clans.

Clans will compete for the Clan Shield by chasing points in sporting and social activities; they will also work together in on-ship responsibilities such as stores party and garbage sorting.

Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Jake Garrick helped organise the sports day and said the event was not only about physical exercise.

“The mental game is a big one on a ship. Coming ashore and getting involved across categories and ranks and being out in the fresh air is great for mental health.

“I am in Clan Douglas but this is not about rivalry - you just want to get on the field and have fun,” Leading Seaman Garrick said.

Teams sparred in soccer and touch footy before a barbecue and a swim at the local beach.

Leading Seaman Communications Technician Rebecca Bradford of Clan Scott said that the clan concept helps to build cohesion throughout the ship’s company.

“Even though it was hot, everyone still had a good time.

“The clan concept is a good one; you know that you’ve got a team, on the ship and off,” she said.

Able Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Ainsley Depiazza wasn’t fazed by Clan Campbell’s second-place finish to Clan Douglas after a soccer final.

“It was a good way to get involved with each other, integrating departments and jobs.

“And coming in second was a once-off: we’re going to win the Shield!” Able Seaman Depiazza said.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20192626.