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June 21, 2012
OFFICERS who will work on the
Aegis-equipped Hobart-class Air
Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) gained
an insight into the complexities of air
attack when they met a WWII sur vi-
vor of the kamikaze attack on HMAS
Members of Principal Warfare
Officers Course (PWO) 49 met LCDR
Ian Wrigley (rtd), at HMAS Watson
on May 30.
At 91, LCDR Wrigley is one of
Navy's pioneers of air warfare and
served as air direction officer in
He was able to provide the future
PWOs with food-for-thought over a
delicious mor ning tea.
OIC School of Maritime Warfare
LCDR Dave Murphy said the visit
by LCDR Wrigley was significant
because of the connection between
PWO training and air warfare spe-
"It's significant to benefit from the
experience of LCDR Wrigley," LCDR
Mu rphy said.
"His brief about one of the last air
attacks on a Navy warship in 1944
had the benefit of hindsight and
provided us with important lessons
During LCDR Wrigley's visit to
Watson, he toured the STS simulation
facility and bridge simulator, and was
shown the ar ray of computer simulation
tools that hone the skills of officers and
sailors for high-end warfighting.
"I was amazed by the amount of
technology that is used today to pre-
pare officers and sailors for sea, as
opposed to in my day when we went
to sea without much specialist train-
ing to gain whatever experience we
could," LCDR Wrigley said.
Just as LCDR Wrigley was fas-
cinated by the future of air warfare,
officers at the School of Maritime
Warfare expressed interest in his
experience of air attacks.
"When Australia was hit by the
Japanese aircraft, either deliberately
or by accident, there was a blinding
f lash and deafening explosion that
made the whole ship shake violently,"
"It was then a matter of treating
the sur vivors and conducting repairs
to keep up the ship in the fight."
LCDR Wrigley said training had
developed in leaps and bounds since
"My head is bulging with informa-
tion but I have gained an understand-
ing of how enhanced simulation is the
future of Navy training, enabling the
RAN to provide better training more
cost effectively," he said.
"Wats o n's new bridge simulator is
At the end of the tour, LCDR
Wrigley was conferred with life mem-
bership to the wardroom, in recogni-
tion of his service as a naval warfare
officer and for his role in establishing
the first air direction radar school at
HMAS Watson in 1944.
LCDR Wrigley moved to the Navy
Reser ve after demobilisation in 1946
and served for a total of 30 years.
Air warfare lessons learned
FINE HISTORY: LCDR Ian Wrigley (rtd) shows LCDR David Murphy the ships he served on during a visit to
Photo: LSIS Jo Dilorenzo
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