HMAS Gascoyne has evoked her motto "return to the sea" after completing her unit readiness evaluation in Jervis Bay. 

The evaluation was a culmination of a long period of preparation, training and assessments for the crew, many of who deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist earlier in the year.

Combat systems operator mine warfare Able Seaman Caid Upton was one of Gascoyne’s crew to support Defence’s contribution in the fight against COVID-19.

He said it was great to be back at sea after a disjointed year. 

“While deploying at home was a unique and humbling experience, getting back to sea with the crew helped bring some normality back to this year,” Able Seaman Upton said. 

As part of her evaluation, Gascoyne proved herself against the full spectrum of maritime operations, including general seamanship, navigation, damage control and mine-hunting capabilities. 

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

Commanding Officer Gascoyne Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken said he was proud of how his crew worked together in the challenging circumstances to complete the evaluation. 

“After what has been a challenging year with Gascoyne completing a lengthy refit period, coupled with dry docking and COVID-19, it’s great to see the hard work and effort team Gascoyne has put in leading into the work-up period culminate in successfully completing evaluation,” Lieutenant Commander Aitken said. 

Gascoyne will return to her home port at HMAS Waterhen for some downtime before sailing to complete the Mine Clearance Diving Group Task Group Certification.