When maritime warfare officer Midshipman Samantha Horsfield posted to NUSHIP Sydney this year, she became the third generation of her family to serve in a ship bearing one of the Navy’s most famous and historic names.
Midshipman Horsfield joined Sydney’s crew the day after she sailed into her namesake harbour last month, adding another layer of family history in Sydney that includes her father, grandfather and great uncle.
She said that while she knew about the family’s long tradition of service in Navy, it wasn’t until her own posting to Sydney that she learned how strong the connection was to the Sydney name.
“When I told my family I was posting to Sydney they were really excited because I’m now the third generation. But I didn’t know the extent of the history so I’ve had to do some digging,” she said.
Her father, Mark Horsfield, served in HMAS Sydney IV from 1995 to 1997 as a petty officer combat systems supervisor. He was also in HMAS Brisbane II during the first Gulf War in company with Sydney IV in 1990-91.
Grandfather Lewis Horsfield, a former chief petty officer writer, participated in four escort duties by HMAS Sydney III to Vietnam and back, and was posted to HMA Ships Vampire II and Vendetta II during the 1960s.
Although Chief Petty Officer Horsfield never posted to Sydney III, he spent some time on board in his capacity as a writer and part of Fleet Operations planning in 1966-1967. He also tells the story of when he was on board Sydney III in Vung Tau, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War.
“The story goes that he transferred two bags of coins for the maritime logistics officer to take back to Australia as another ship’s pay safe was running out of space,” Midshipman Horsfield said.
To complete the family history, her great uncle Vincent Horsfield, who was a petty officer, also participated in escort duties conducted by Sydney III to Vietnam.
Needless to say, Midshipman Horsfield cites the family history as one of the reasons she decided to enlist in the Navy, initially as a hydrographic systems operator, in 2016.
In July last year she commissioned as a maritime warfare officer and is currently in Phase 2 of the Maritime Warfare Officers Course.
“As a maritime warfare officer, our job involves planning for the unplanned and being prepared to fight the known and unknown fights. The level of knowledge this requires means that our course is intensive,” she said.
While she always hoped she would be posted to one of the three new Hobart-class destroyers, she said joining NUSHIP Sydney was her dream move.
“Having the opportunity to experience the warfare capability of the newest ship in the fleet, understanding the weapons systems and how they interface with the combat systems, is a career highlight for a maritime warfare officer,” Midshipman Horsfield said.
Sydney is the last of the three new Hobart-class destroyers and is part of the largest regeneration of Navy since World War II.
NUSHIP Sydney will commission into service in May.