With an already busy year full of work ups, maintenance and task group certifications and the additional challenges of COVID-19, 2020 has seen the continuation of training opportunities onboard HMAS Gascoyne.
During the recent Minehunter Coastal Task Group Certification, five trainees had the privilege to embark aboard the premier minehunter, as well as HMA Ships Yarra and Huon in order to prove the class’s capability with task group operations.
Midshipman Riley Davison, who joined the Navy earlier this year, is enjoying the opportunity of experiencing life at sea.
“It’s been great to actively contribute towards the task group’s certification whilst also progressing my career and learning as much as I can,” he said.
Midshipman Nicholas Croke hails from Young in NSW and was new to minehunter life and what that entailed. He quickly adjusted to small boat life.
“Learning about Mine Warfare has been really interesting and it has been great to further my training on this class of vessel.”
Seaman Floyd Norris and Seaman Brendan Lane, who joined the Navy earlier this year as part of the ADF Gap Year program, have enjoyed their first time at sea.
“Getting onto the helm and handling lines has been rewarding. You can read about it in a publication or on a website, but doing it for real is something else completely,” Seaman Norris stated.
Seaman Lane, who was at the helm when exercising a Man Overboard, stated he didn’t realise how vast the stress could be.
“There is an added pressure when conducting a Man Overboard and the stress on the bridge is immense, it has been good to exercise so early on in my career with the assistance of qualified personnel,” Seaman Lane said.
The recent task group certification was conducted in Jervis Bay and tested the collective group’s ability to detect threats and sanitise sea space for supporting units to safely pass through mined waters.
Commanding Officer Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, enjoyed having the trainees on board.
“It was good being able to utilise our spare accommodation on board for the two weeks at sea, noting the reduced sea riding opportunities available to trainees this year.
“To give junior officers and junior sailors a chance to experience life on a minehunter so early on in their career is a privilege and will assist them in obtaining a greater understanding of the overall Navy and, hopefully, shape their careers in a positive way to consider a future within the MCD community,” Lieutenant Commander Aitken said.