HMAS Success proceeded to sea for the first time in just over two months on 13 October, but for Commanding Officer Captain Allison Norris, it was with mixed emotions as it signified the last week of her command.
Captain Norris joined Success on 4 December 2012, and saw the ship through three maintenance periods, including one which lasted 11 months. She led ship’s company on three operations; RESOLUTE, SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN and SOLANIA, steaming more than 42,000 nautical miles over 183 days away from home port. During this time, Success was also the figurehead of Navy's significant presence at Exercise RIMPAC 2014.
The day prior to handing command to Commanding Officer Designate Captain Justin Jones, Captain Norris gathered her crew together for one last Clear Lower Deck. She reflected on a challenging 23 months and reminded her personnel of their achievements, not least proving the reliability of Success and earning the respect of the rest of the fleet during 49 days at sea searching for lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
"To command a warship at sea is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon Maritime Warfare Officers and it has been my privilege and honour to have commanded all of you," she said.
"You have kept me honest, kept me grounded and this ship, Success, has challenged me more than I ever expected. She is a tough old ship, unique and definitely full of surprises.
"I leave you in the very capable hands of Captain Justin Jones, a trusted colleague, professional mariner and good friend."
Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Chris Straughan presented Captain Norris with a unique portrait on behalf of the ship’s company remarking on the outgoing Captain’s focus on her people and thanked her for her leadership and example.
"We have been grateful to have you as a leader and mentor and for the incredible amount of effort you have put in to bring us to where we are now. We wish you all the best for the future," he said.
A formal ceremony to hand over the 'weight' of command was held alongside Fleet Base East in Sydney on 17 October, with Captain Norris being farewelled with salutes as she departed the ship for the last time.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143184.