HMAS Gascoyne rises to ‘Return to the Sea’

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Benjamin Page (author), LCDR Sean Aitken (photographer), LEUT Breece Gevaux (photographer), LSCD Dragan Ivanovic (photographer), ASLT Emma Bennett (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Gascoyne (M85), Sea Training Group

HMAS Gascoyne departing HMAS Waterhen to conduct work ups as part of her Unit Readiness Evaluation. (photo: LCDR Sean Aitken)
HMAS Gascoyne departing HMAS Waterhen to conduct work ups as part of her Unit Readiness Evaluation.

HMAS Gascoyne has recently completed her unit readiness evaluation in Jervis Bay, living up to her motto and ‘returning to the sea’.

The unit readiness evaluation was a culmination of a long period of preparations, training and assessments for Gascoyne’s crew, many of whom deployed on Operation COVID-19 ASSIST earlier in the year.

At a time when the whole country continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew of Gascoyne worked cohesively together to achieve outstanding results.

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator - Mine Warfare Caid Upton was one of Gascoyne’s crew who supported Defence’s contribution to the national effort against COVID-19, said it was great to be back at sea after a disjointed year.

HMAS Gascoyne ships divers conducting mine disposal as part of Unit Readiness Evaluation.

HMAS Gascoyne ships divers conducting mine disposal as part of Unit Readiness Evaluation.

“While deploying at home was a unique and humbling experience, getting back to sea with the ship’s team has helped to bring some normality back to this year.”

HMAS Ballarat has also been conducting her unit readiness evaluation simultaneously to Gascoyne in the waters of Jervis Bay, with the two ships supporting each other through a number of training serials.

This has made this period even more memorable for Able Seaman Upton, with his sister currently posted on board Ballarat.

Gascoyne has proven herself against the full spectrum of maritime operations, including general seamanship, navigation, damage control, as well testing her mine hunting capabilities.

Supported by the Navy’s Sea Training Group, realistic scenarios have allowed the crew to test themselves and their skills to ensure they remain ready to fight and win at sea.

Gascoyne’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, is proud of how his crew have worked together in the challenging circumstances to achieve this result.

“After what has been a challenging year, with Gascoyne completing a lengthy refit period, coupled with dry docking, and whilst in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been great to see the hard work and effort that team Gascoyne has put in,” Lieutenant Commander Aitken said.

“Despite all the challenges of the year successfully completing our unit readiness evaluation is a great accomplishment for this team.”

Gascoyne will now return to her home port at Sydney naval base HMAS Waterhen for some downtime, before sailing again to complete the Mine Clearance Diving Group Task Group Certification with her counterpart Mine Hunter Coastal HMA Ships.

Gascoyne is one of the Navy’s four Huon Class Mine Hunter Coastal ships and feature a unique hull design for increased shock resistance and an inherently low magnetic signature, they are also fitted with a variety of mine hunting capabilities including their two remotely controlled Mine Disposal Vehicles.