New squadron visited by Chief of Navy in Jacksonville

Published on LEUT Trine Themsen (author), LSA Liam Carruthers (photographer)

Location(s): Jacksonville, Florida

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett addresses NUSQN 725 members at NAS Jacksonville. (photo: LSA Liam Carruthers)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett addresses NUSQN 725 members at NAS Jacksonville.

The Fleet Air Arm’s new MH-60R Seahawk Romeo Helicopter Squadron, NUSQN 725, recently hosted a whirlwind visit from the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN in Jacksonville, Florida.
Arriving at Naval Station Mayport, Vice Admiral Barrett was eagerly greeted by the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ students currently undergoing training with the US Navy’s Fleet Replenishment Squadron, HSM-40. This training includes ground, airborne and simulator instruction, but it was in the Simulator where the Royal Australian Navy students were able to show off their new skills.
After a quick ‘demo’ covering the full glass cockpit and the new system and mission capabilities of the Romeo, it was time for Vice Admiral Barrett to take the Mission Commanders seat for a warfare scenario. He was eager to experience the complex controls and systems of the Romeo first hand and looked at home in the cockpit, confidently shooting two Hellfire missiles into a moving target.
“As an operator, there’s nothing better than getting the Chief of the Navy to see what capabilities we are going to have at our fingertips,” said Lieutenant Adrian Wedd, an Aviation Warfare Officer currently under training at HSM-40.
Vice Admiral Barrett said he was extremely impressed with the facilities available to the Australian team training with HSM-40.
“The simulator and overall capability of the Romeo is a testament to the world class training and experience being delivered by our US Navy partners,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.
Moving onto Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the Chief of Navy then addressed the Squadron at a clear lower deck, where he acknowledged the professional and energetic way in which NUSQN 725 had met a number of challenges to raise and train a complex new helicopter Squadron so far from home.  
“I have heard nothing but great things and I expect you will set the standard for future Romeo operations and for the helicopter’s role in the wider warfare community,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.
NUSQN 725 is ready to pick up the gauntlet, but in the short term remains focussed on continuing operations in the US, with more Anti-Submarine exercises and a busy flying schedule planned for the remainder of the year.
The Squadron is living up to its motto of ‘be aggressive’ and looks forward to showing off the new aircraft and skills back home in Australia.
HMAS Albatross will welcome Romeos back into the Fleet Air Arm from October, with the entire Squadron due back on deck in Australia from January 5, 2015.