Home' Navy News : August 18th 2011 Contents The Naval Contribution to National Security and Prosperity
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August 18, 2011
By Michael Brooke
TEN sailors from HMAS Stuart
recently lunched with Commander
Australian Fleet RADM Steve Gilmore
at Fleet Headquarters.
The monthly luncheon with sailors
from all areas of Fleet Command is
designed to improve access to the top
brass to encourage communication and
Stuart's sailors said the conversation
enhanced their perspective about contem-
LS Brad Rowe said it highlighted
the improvements to Navy culture being
driven by the New Generation Navy
"It is really good for us to address
questions directly to the Fleet
Commander, because there are a lot of
behind-the-scenes issues of which we do
not have visibility," he said.
"It's a two-way discussion that allows
junior sailors to put forward ideas that
might not have been considered by the
One of the discussions focused on the
negative reports about Navy in the media,
which largely ignore the excellent work
being done by RAN personnel.
Other issues discussed included indi-
vidual and collective training, as well as
the Force 2030 modernisation program
that includes the acquisition of the Air
Warfare Destroyers, Landing Helicopter
Docks and new submarines.
The Fleet Command Warrant
Officer, WO Martin Holzberger, said
the monthly luncheon was an important
opportunity for sailors to talk to the Fleet
Commander about issues relevant to
"Their well-considered questions and
recommendations have demonstrated to
us how much our sailors have to offer,"
Sailors lunch with top brass
By Michael Brooke
HMAS Sydney's ABCK Luke
Menz marked his return home
from a three-month deployment in
romantic style with a marriage pro-
posal to his long-time sweetheart.
As Sydney majestically glided
towards her berth at Fleet Base East,
ABCK Menz unveiled a 4x3 metre
banner which popped the question
in full view of his partner, Denna
Denna said she was "very embar-
rassed and surprised" by the public
proposal on July 30.
After Sydney berthed, ABCK
Menz bolted down the gangway to
drop to one knee and present a spar-
kling engagement ring to his blush-
"Denna, will you marry me?" he
"Yes," she replied.
The wharf-side proposal was
cheered and applauded by Sydney's
ship's company and more than 300
of their families and friends.
ABCK Menz said he was in
Hawaii when he hatched a secret
plan to propose when Sydney
returned from Exercise Talisman
"The ship was in Hawaii for the
SM2 missile firings when I decided
I would ask Denna to marry me," he
"That's when I bought the
The planned proposal was a
closely guarded secret he shared
only with his mother and grandmoth-
er, who drove from the family home
in Wagga Wagga to witness their
son's big moment.
"I wanted it to be a complete sur-
prise," ABCK Menz said.
The happy couple, who have a
six-month baby boy named Keenan,
met three years ago during a dance at
"I realised then she was the one
for me," he said.
SPECIAL HOMECOMING: ABCK Luke Menz proposes mar-
riage to his partner, Denna Tickell, after HMAS Sydney returns
to Fleet Base East and, inset, ABCK Menz with the banner he
hung over the ship.
Photos: POIS Phillip Hunt
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