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April 14, 2011
By Michael Brooke
AIRCRAFT controller ABSCO Amy
McGowan hopes to inspire some of
her colleagues after achieving new
heights in her own career path.
The 21-year-old aircraft control-
ler (ASAC) has been awarded with a
By Michael Brooke
IF HMAS Warramunga's sights are
locked on you, there's one thing that's
certain -- your time is limited.
Warramunga's sharp-shooting skills
have been recognised with the ship awarded
the prestigious Otranto Shield for surface
combat gunnery proficiency.
The ship's gunnery department was on
target last year with its five-inch gun at
RIMPAC and in a firepower demonstration
conducted jointly with China's People's
Liberation Army -- Navy (PLA-N).
COMAUSFLT RADM Steve Gilmore
presented the 100-year-old Otranto Shield
to Warramunga's crew at a ceremony at
HMAS Watson on March 22.
The shield is presented as one of the
Fleet Commander's annual awards for
excellency and efficiency.
"Congratulations on an extraordinary
effort," RADM Gilmore said.
"I know you were away for a long time
with Exercises RIMPAC and Kakadu, and
then your deployment to north-east Asia
where Warramunga modelled the profes-
sionalism of the RAN during a number
of important combined and multinational
CMDR Michael Turner said the Otranto
Shield recognised the outstanding efforts of
his ship's gunnery department, which was
well supported by the operations room team
and other members of the ship's company.
"It's a great team effort across the board
and this award recognises that," he said.
CMDR Turner said Warramunga's refit
program had provided the ship's command
team with a valuable opportunity to con-
duct training in the FFH operations room
simulator at Watson.
"The command team training involved
a range of challenging warfare serials and
scenarios that gave us the opportunity to
develop our collective skills to the required
level to fight and win at sea," he said.
"It's very encouraging to see the pro-
gress we made in just a few days after
about a 30 per cent change out of crew."
CMDR Turner said the command team
training had prepared them for the chal-
lenge of Warramunga's WUP/URE, ahead
of a deployment to south-east Asia for a
number of important multinational exer-
At RIMPAC last year, Warramunga par-
ticipated in the first operational Harpoon
Block II firing in the world. She also took
part in a five-inch gunnery exercise using a
new type of ammunition to sink the ex-USS
Another highlight for the gunnery
department was when Warramunga used
her 50-calibre machine guns and five-inch
gun on a floating target while exercising
with the PLA-N.
Warramunga on target
Double dux sets the standard
FIRE! HMAS Warramunga conducts
a Harpoon Block II firing off the coast
of Hawaii during RIMPAC 2010.
Photo: ABIS Morgana Ramsey
'double dux' -- ASAC 88 and
ASAC of the Year for 2010.
She said hard work, dedica-
tion to study and making sac-
rifices were required in order
to be the best she could be in
"It's very important to be
the best that you can be and if that
requires a lot of study and personal
sacrifice, then so be it," she said.
COMAUSFLT RADM Steve
Gilmore awarded ABSCO McGowan
certificates for the accomplishments
at a ceremony at HMAS Watson on
She also received a Head of
Warfare Community Medallion for
being the student on course who best
displayed the Navy Values.
ABSCO McGowan said she was
happy to have set a benchmark, not
only for herself, but also to inspire
other aircraft controllers.
She has been busy honing her skills
during HMAS Warramunga's
command team training in
the FFH operations room
simulator at HMAS Watson,
preparing the crew for the
challenge of their WUP/URE
and deployment to Asia.
RADM Gilmore said she
would prove herself to be a valuable
asset, particularly when the Canberra-
class LHDs and Hobart-class AWDs
came on-line in the coming years.
"One of the greatest pleasures of
my job is acknowledging the hard
work and professionalism of Navy's
people," RADM Gilmore said.
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