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14 September 27, 2012
Keeping fit to fight
LEUT Andrew Herring
DESPITE the heightened
tempo of being involved in
Exercise Kakadu, crew mem-
bers aboard HMAS Darwin
made time to stay fighting fit.
Physical training sessions
were conducted twice daily
by the ship's physical training
instructor, LSPTI Mathew Vaisey,
during the first week of the exer-
cise sea phase. Activities includ-
ed jogs and
WORK IT: Crew members aboard
HMAS Darwin conduct physical training
on the forecastle during Ex Kakadu.
Photo: ABIS James Whittle
LEUT Andrew Herring
WHILE the Ex Kakadu fleet has
been busy on the ocean's surface,
they have had help from above from
the Seahawk 'Valkyrie'.
The aircraft and its 15-strong
team of five aircrew and 10 main-
tainers make up 816SQN's Flight 4,
embarked in HMAS Darwin.
In the first five days of Ex
Kakadu's sea phase, Valkyrie flew
30 hours during 10 sorties.
These included anti-submarine
and anti-surface warfare training,
personnel and VIP transfers, a medi-
vac and a ship's aviation assess-
ment. Valkyrie also operated with
HMA Ships Perth, Warramunga and
Dechaineux along with Singaporean,
Indonesian, New Zealand, Bruneian,
Thai and Japanese ships and a
Japanese P3 maritime patrol aircraft
during training activities.
Flight commander LCDR Peter
Talbot said the flight integrated well
with the multinational fleet.
"We've operated quite success-
fully with the other nations," he said.
"They operate using well-estab-
lished voice procedures and we've
been able to operate effectively in
a busy ASW environment including
verbal targeting information with-
out any problems."
The busy flight schedule also
kept the crew of maintainers busy.
"Higher usage of the aircraft dur-
ing an exercise does demand more
maintenance work, but the Seahawk
performs best when it's being
worked hard," LCDR Talbot said.
The name Valkyrie was chosen
to complement Darwin's call sign
The aircraft's mascot, an 'angry
bird' soft toy, was a gift and holds
pride of place behind the aircraft's
control panel, keeping watch out the
LEUT Ryan Zerbe
MEMBERS of HMAS Perth's ship's
company put their feet up at dusk during
Ex Kakadu to watch the ship's band, No
Direction, perform its last gig at sea.
The band cranked out one final jam
for their 'world tour' in Perth's hangar.
No Direction formed during Perth's
five-and-a-half month deployment for
RIMPAC, and since its inception has had
frequent line-up changes as new mem-
bers posted on and off the ship.
"We've had a changing line-up since
we first started; even in the middle of
performances we've changed out mem-
bers," CPOEW Ray Sangster said.
POCSS Dave Burr agreed. "The
whole band enjoyed having a crack at
playing and everyone who has been
involved has had a lot of fun."
No Direction performed covers of
rock classics by the Hoodoo Gurus, Foo
Fighters and Cold Chisel, much to the
enjoyment of the rest of the crew.
When asked what he had enjoyed
most about the band, ship's warrant
officer WO Vaughan King said playing
for other ships during replenishments at
sea (RAS) was at the top.
"The captain wanted Lonely Boy by
the Black Keys to be our breakaway
song at the end of a RAS," he said.
"We completed about six replen-
ishments at sea with the USS Henry J
Kaiser and by the last one their crew
were coming to the upper decks to hear
the band play that one."
Ready to fly
HIGH-FLYER: ABCK Sam Monks,
of HMAS Perth, waits for Valkyrie
to take off during Ex Kakadu.
Photo: LEUT Ryan Zerbe
routines on the forecastle or
flight deck, or weight and cardio
training in the ship's gymnasium.
"Working at sea can be
physically demanding and it's
important that everyone main-
tains a reasonable level of fit-
ness," LSPTI Vaisey said.
"A regular physical train-
ing routine also contributes to
morale and well-being among
the ship's company."
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