Warfare dynasty in the making

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Maritime Warfare Officer Lieutenant Hannah Phelps of HMAS Success on the forecastle of her ship, alongside Garden Island Naval Base, Sydney.  (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Maritime Warfare Officer Lieutenant Hannah Phelps of HMAS Success on the forecastle of her ship, alongside Garden Island Naval Base, Sydney.

Lieutenant Hannah Phelps joined the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer because she thought it would be an “exciting and rewarding career”.
An overseas deployment, an international exercise, almost 17,000 nautical miles and five foreign ports later, she is confident she got that decision right.
Lieutenant Phelps deployed to South East Asia in replenishment ship, HMAS Success, in June and returned to Australia in September to take part in Exercise KAKADU with 18 other nations.
It was her first posting after completing the final phase of her Maritime Warfare Officer training.

“I was very happy to be posted to Success because I knew the program would give me a lot of exposure to life at sea and training opportunities," she said.

"I was also looking forward to going overseas and being a part of the deployment. The trip was excellent, and I learned a lot very quickly."
Lieutenant Phelps received her platform endorsement while on Success, the culmination of almost two years of intensive study which qualified her to take control of the warship unsupervised.

While getting her 'ticket' was the highlight of the voyage, Lieutenant Phelps said the most interesting part was wargaming during KAKADU.

“Working with foreign navies and seeing the challenges that arose while we were operating with them were very interesting and definitely valuable for my career."

"It was beneficial to see the similarities and differences in the way we operate and how we were still able to achieve all the outcomes that were required of us."

"Refuelling a number of foreign ships on the deployment and working within an international task group were highlights,” Lieutenant Phelps said.

Lieutenant Phelps is one of three siblings who joined the Navy as warfare officers.

Her brother, Sub Lieutenant Toby Phelps is undertaking Phase Three of his training and will start Phase Four next year.
Midshipman Matthew Phelps is finishing his second year at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He will also become a Maritime Warfare Officer after his university studies.

“I have a younger sister as well who is studying at university although she doesn’t have any naval aspirations!" Lieutenant Phelps said.

"I have a number of younger cousins who have heard about the Navy through the three of us, and who are considering joining when they finish high school."

"All of our experiences have been very positive, so we have been encouraging them to look into the various pathways available to them,” Lieutenant Phelps said.