Home' Navy News : December 8th 2011 Contents -- ABATV Shyam Bakrania, 817 SQN
IT'S time to say goodbye.
With the decommissioning of 817
Squadron (SQN) and the Sea King
helicopters this month, Navy News
pays tribute to the HMAS Albatross-
based squadron in this special liftout.
There is plenty for the squadron
to be proud of from its commission
period, spanning almost five decades
817 SQN has serviced
two helicopter types --
the Westland Wessex
and Westland Sea King --
in anti-submarine warfare
and utility roles.
The Sea Kings (dubbed
'Sharks') have enjoyed a prominent
public role for Navy in the Australian
and international communities, help-
ing in times of turmoil during their
35 years of service.
The aircrew and maintainers of
817 SQN were there in the Sea Kings
when floods devastated Nyngan,
Kempsey and south-east Queensland
They were there when lives were
on the line in the 1998 Sydney to
Hobart yacht race.
They were there when bushfires
raged across this big land in 1994,
2001 and 2003.
They were there after tsunamis
and earthquakes shook Indonesia in
2004 and 2009.
This liftout introduces you to
some of the people who have lived
and breathed 817 SQN.
It offers a taste of the squadron's
history, highlights its special relation-
ship with the South Australian town
of Goolwa, and pays tribute to four
squadron members who lost their
lives in the crash of Shark 02 on Nias
Island, Indonesia, in 2005.
We hope you enjoy this special
-- Simon Gladman
December 8, 2011
817 Squadron and Sea Kings decommission
THE Sea Kings and 817 Squadron
will have their last hurrah this month
with a flypast over Sydney and
Canberra, followed by a traditional
naval decommissioning ceremony.
The final farewells began last
month, with an open day at the Fleet
Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross,
providing the public with their last
chance to see the aircraft on the
ground and in flying displays.
On December 15, the Sea Kings
will farewell the nation with a flypast
over the fleet's traditional home, the
nation's capital and the region these
aircraft have called home.
All going well, three Sea Kings
will take off as planned from Albatross
at 10am, arriving at Sydney shortly
before 11am to fly in close formation
over the harbour and Fleet Base East,
before heading south to Canberra to
fly over Lake Burley Griffin, Anzac
Parade and the Australian War
The formation will then return to
the Shoalhaven for their last appear-
ance in home skies before finally land-
ing at Albatross.
817 Squadron's Commanding
Officer, CMDR Paul Moggach, said
the final flight would be a fitting end
to a remarkable era for the aircraft and
"This flypast will be a fitting
final show of thanks to the Australian
community and a fantastic way for
the squadron to end 35 years of Sea
King operations in the RAN," CMDR
On December 16, the aircraft will
be officially retired after 35 years of
flying and 817 Squadron decommis-
sioned after 48 years of continual ser-
vice, during which time it has operated
Wessex and Sea King helicopters.
Chief of Navy VADM Ray Griggs
will be the reviewing officer for the
traditional ceremony, which will
be attended by Defence Materiel
Minister Jason Clare and Commander
Australian Fleet RADM Steve
Gilmore, along with Fleet Air Arm
personnel and the families of 817
-- LEUT Andrew Herring
A proud squadron touches down
You get attached to the aircraft, you get to know
them intimately and have a connection with
them. You know all their faults and good points.
I remember what cab I went up in the first time.
It will be sad to see them go.
FRONT COVER IMAGE: Shark 20
takes off from HMAS Manoora's
flight deck in 2006.
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
WORKING AS ONE: 817
Squadron crew return
from Operation Padang
Assist, in Indonesia in
2009, with Shark 10 and 22
aboard HMAS Kanimbla.
Inset: The Sea Kings fly
over Sydney during Navy
Week in 1998.
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