Royal Australian Navy engineers, contractors and their families who cut short their Christmas break to support Operation Bushfire Assist have been recognised for their contribution.
Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth and Command Warrant Officer - Navy Engineering Warrant Officer Christopher Garner visited Fleet Support Unit-South East, Amphibious Afloat Support Group and Fleet Engineering on January 16 to thank those involved in preparing HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra for sea.
“On behalf of the Chief of Navy, thank you for your support, professionalism and absolute top work,” Warrant Officer of the Navy Butterworth said.
“The collaboration between uniformed personnel, contractors and the ship’s staff has been terrific.
“We’ve all been focused on the same thing - working to save families in our nation.”
Personnel worked around the clock to get the landing helicopter docks ready for sea.
Adelaide was recalled to support the evacuation of people from fire-affected communities in early January, with the ship’s company, Navy engineers and contractors preparing the ship to sail on January 4.
Forty Fleet Support Unit technicians were recalled to get Canberra - which was in the middle of a maintenance period at 28 days’ notice to sail - to a seaworthy state that would allow her to support the mission if required.
Facing hundreds of hours of work and an extensive list of tasks, under the direction of Chief Petty Officer Michael Heath, the team completed the job in an unprecedented three days.
“Without people with the experience and the ship’s knowledge and fortitude, there is no way we would’ve been able to get those tasks done, the team really pulled together,” Chief Petty Officer Heath said.
“It is a credit to every single able and leading seaman who came off their leave to push through what would usually be hundreds of man hours within just three days.”
Warrant Officer of the Navy Butterworth praised the dedication and drive of Chief Petty Officer Heath and the team, especially the number who had posted out of Fleet Support Unit but voluntarily came back to assist.
“The ships can’t do what they do without your, and your families', support, which was especially pivotal when giving up what we would usually consider a sacrosanct reduced activity period, so thanks to you and your families for the effort,” she said.