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March 1, 2012
LCDR Sam Dale
THE Nowra-based 816 Squadron
was witness to the change of com-
mand from CMDR Shane Craig
to CDMR Grant O'Loughlan on
CDMR Craig led 816
Squadron from December 11,
2009, seeing the Fighting Tigers
through the deployment of five
Seahawk flights to the Middle
East for Operation Slipper, as
well as participation in exercises
RIMPAC, Kakadu, Singaroo,
Double Trouble, Talisman Sabre
and Triton Fury, plus the ongoing
training of Seahawk aircrew.
With CMDR Craig at the helm,
the squadron won the McNicholl
Trophy in 2010 and 2011 -- a pres-
tigious award presented annually
for carrying out designated tasks
with the highest degree of safety,
efficiency and distinction.
At his farewell, CMDR Craig
reflected on more than 20 years
with 816 Squadron.
"Serving at 816 with people
who show such professional-
ism and dedication made com-
ing to work every day a pleasure.
Getting to know them and many
of their families was a privilege. I
was constantly humbled by peo-
ple, especially families, who gave
so much to support our efforts,"
CMDR Craig said.
"I leave with great sadness
MIDN Nicole Tidyman
THE personnel of HMAS Waterhen farewelled
their Commanding Officer, CMDR Jason Sears on
After a very successful
two years, CMDR Sears
handed over to CMDR
David Jones with the offi-
cial passing of the weight,
where the entire ship's
company attended the
along with CMDR Sears'
wife and their two sons.
CMDR Sears' final
speech focused on the
concept of team Waterhen, where various report-
ing chains all worked to achieve the common
goal of support to the mine warfare and clearance
CMDR Sears previously served as the sustain-
ment manager at the MCD System Program
Office at Waterhen and saw previous COs develop
Team Waterhen was realised through not only
fantastic leadership, but a strong connection with
base staff on all levels and a good understanding
of what each brought to achieving the mission.
CMDR Sears will be remembered for both his
approachability and dedication to his staff. He was
a patron of community service and a renowned
support for instilling the significance of health and
fitness in his sailors.
CMDR Sears has since taken his post as the
Fleet Supply Officer, Garden Island.
HMAS Waterhen says
goodbye to its CO
MOVING ON: CMDR
816 Squadron change
but many, many happy memo-
ries and a sincere wish that
the Fighting Tigers continue to
prosper and do what they do best
by providing an aviation capabil-
ity to the fleet."
CMDR Craig was posted to
the commissioning crew as a
midshipman in 1991.
He went on to serve in a num-
ber of positions, including opera-
tions officer, flight commander,
executive officer and ultimately
commanding officer, demonstrat-
ing his passion and dedication to
the Fighting Tigers.
CMDR Craig was given a
traditional send-off as he hand-
ed over to CMDR O'Loughlan,
with passing on of the cer-
emonial 816 Squadron com-
manding officer walking stick
and a rousing cheer ship from
During his farewell speech,
CMDR Craig thanked his family
for their support, and it was fitting
that his wife Anne and son Tristan
were able to mark the occasion
with a helicopter tour of the area.
Further testament to the infec-
tious nature of CMDR Craig's
passion and dedication is the
fact that two of his sons, SBLTs
Tom and Tim, are posted to 816
Squadron. They are undergoing
operational flying training and
are eager to uphold the family
CMDR O'Loughlan paid
tribute to CMDR Craig's ten-
ure as CO, thanking him for the
excellent state he received 816
"Winning the McNicholl
Trophy for the past two years
shows the dedication of CMDR
Craig and 816 Squadron," he said.
Shane Craig prepares to
depart 816 Squadron in
a Squirrel helicopter with
his family, from left, SBLT
Tim Craig, Mrs Anne
Craig, Tristan Craig and
SBLT Tom Craig; below,
CMDR Craig, right,
hands over the ceremoni-
al walking stick to CMDR
Photos: ABIS Hayley Clarke
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