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Army March 1, 2012
New amphibious ship HMAS Choules to disembark combat team in two major training activities
THE HMAS Choules Ship’s Army
Detachment (SAD) is ready for the chal-
lenge of embarking and disembarking a
combat team from the ADF’s newest and
biggest warship for the first time.
Exercises Sea Lion and Squad Ex in far
north Queensland this month will mark Army’s
first exposure to the 16,800-ton amphibious
warship, HMAS Choules, which was procured
from the Royal Navy last year.
The exercises will hone amphibious proce-
dures for the ADF’s transition to a true expedi-
tionary capability in 2014 when the 22,000-ton
Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Docks are
scheduled to come into service.
Detachment 2IC Capt Philip Murphy said
Ex Sea Lion and Squad Ex would introduce
soldiers from 3 Bde to amphibious operations.
“The exercises will improve the SAD
and the embarked forces’ understanding of
the tasks necessary for the ADF to marshall
a landing force and project it into shore as an
adequate response to any emergency,” he said.
A major feature of the force integration
training is the transfer of soldiers, vehicles and
equipment to landing craft for an assault.
The exercises will be conducted during
Choules’ work-up program and mariner skills
evaluation, which are essential for operational
“The work-up program won’t be too daunt-
ing as most of the SAD served in HMA Ships
Kanimbla and Manoora, so they have already
integrated well with Navy,” Capt Murphy said.
Cargo specialist Pte Rodney Ferris said he
“nailed” the Navy lingo while undertaking the
basic combat sea survivability course in the
UK last year.
“Integrating with the Navy proved to be a
bit of a challenge because it entailed learning
‘jack speak’ to develop commonality of lan-
guage,” he said.
Pte Ferris said since the ship’s company
and the SAD first came together as an entity
last July they had gained competency in a wide
range of skills and systems new to the ADF.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to
put theory into practice during the exercises
because we were trained on all the equipment,
including the 30-ton crane and the vehicle lifts,
before HMAS Choules was handed over to the
ADF last year.”
CA Lt-Gen David Morrison said the new
ship marked “the start of a new era in the deliv-
ery of amphibious capability for the ADF”.
Lt-Gen Morrison recently announced he
would commit an Army battle group, based
on 2RAR, and a cross section of combat and
enabling capabilities to develop the Army’s
Capability boost: HMAS Choules will embark and disembark an Army combat team for the first time during two exercises in far north
Queensland this month. Inset left, Sgt Donovan Watson from the HMAS Choules Ship’s Army Detachment reunites with his partner, Carrie
Brown, and their children Liam and Kaen after the new vessel arrived at Fleet Base East in Sydney. Inset right, the vehicle deck on HMAS
Choules allows the ship to carry about 150 light trucks.
Photos by Royal Navy photographer Shaun Barlow, LS Brenton Freind and LS Nina Nikolin
ON BEING presented the Federation Star
by CA Lt-Gen David Morrison, CDF Gen
David Hurley said he never thought he would
serve 40 years when he marched into RMC
Duntroon on January 17, 1972.
“Heaven knows what we thought
was ahead of us, just getting through
the institution was our first aim, and
then maybe being a commanding
officer, which seemed to be a fairly
esteemed objective to have in your
life,” Gen Hurley said.
“If I was to finish today after 40
years service and finish in this job
– or really in any of the jobs I have
had in the Army over the years – I
would always say what a marvel-
lous decision I made on January
Gen Hurley is pictured
here with his wife, Linda, after
‘I never thought
I’d do 40 years’
by CA Lt-Gen
David Hurley s
serve 40 yea
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