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www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS July 4, 2013
LEUT Gary McHugh
EXERCISE Sea Lion 2013 got under-
way on June 10 as HMAS Choules
slipped out to sea with a complement
of more than 400 Army and Navy
personnel on board and various pieces
of equipment firmly secured on the
Sea Lion, which was the first major
joint amphibious exercise for the year,
finished on June 28 and was conducted
between Townsville and the Cowley
Beach Training Area and was part of
the ADF's enhanced amphibious capa-
Commander of the Australian
Amphibious Task Group CAPT Ray
Leggatt said the experience gained by
personnel during the exercise would
prove invaluable in developing the
skills necessary for the complex and
demanding amphibious environment.
"This exercise will hone our
amphibious procedures and systems
as we head towards a comprehensive
expeditionary capability, which will be
based around the 27,000-tonne LHDs,"
"To achieve this, it is important that
Navy and Army can work well togeth-
er to achieve any task that is given to
an amphibious force and this is where
Sea Lion comes in."
The exercise also gave members of
808SQN the chance to hone their skills
behind the controls of the MRH-90.
Pilot LCDR Steve Brown said
Navy would mainly use the MRH-90
to conduct maritime support for ships,
including boarding party support,
medical evacuations and search and
"The MRH-90 is a very versatile
aircraft that allows the crew to carry
out a number of tasks that may be
assigned to them," he said.
"This exercise gave members of
808SQN the chance to conduct indi-
vidual and collective training with the
MRH-90 in a realistic environment."
Set to replace the Army Black
Hawks, the dual service use of the
MRH-90 is another indication of how
Navy and Army can work together in
an amphibious environment.
Three days into the exercise,
Choules came under the media micro-
scope as a camera crew from Channel
Seven Brisbane came aboard for a
couple of days.
Arriving by Black Hawk, reporter
Angie Asimus and cameraman Chris
Leahy immediately got to work inter-
viewing CAPT Leggatt, CO Choules
CMDR Ashley Papp and CO 2RAR
LTCOL Chris Smith.
CAPT Leggatt said having the
media on board was an excellent
opportunity for the ADF to exhibit its
Pride on sea
LSATV Chris Dendle
restricts access to HMAS
Choules' flight deck
during flying stations.
LOOK OUT: LSBM Lee Turner watches an LCM-8 depart
from the starboard side sea boat ladder.
SUIT UP: ABET Jake De Venny on
hose attack during a whole ship damage
AT WORK: ABATAs Daniel
Weier and Grant Hutchman
work on an MRH-90.
Photos: ABIS Chantell Bianchi
CPL Max Bree
ENSURING personnel stay safe
when embarking HMAS Choules is
a role the ship's buffer is well-suited
to. Before 2RAR could establish
their beach-head for Exercise Sea
Lion, soldiers needed to enter
through the well deck with CPOBM
Ben MacQueen keeping an eye on
"I ensured the safety of the well
dock and that the actual second bat-
talion got on board, that personnel
embarked safely and were going
to the right place so they didn't get
lost," he said.
He said he also checked the
regiment knew the rules on the well
dock before entering.
"They really needed to know the
safety rules," he said
CPO MacQueen was also
involved in the evacuation of civil-
ians during the exercise.
"During the non-combatant
evacuation exercise we had to get
civilians, Australian nationals and
foreign nationals on board," he said.
"We made sure they were safe,
Chief's job well done
they get on board safely and we got
CPO MacQueen's other priori-
ties were to ensure watercraft was
docked safely and all personnel
embarked safely during the exercise.
He said his job was made easier
because he was no stranger to the
Army. "I've been working for the
past 12 years in amphibious opera-
tions," he said.
"The ship's Army detachment
is cross-trained and the personnel
are mariners when they board this
ship; they're a part of the ship's
He said while working with the
Army was sometimes challenging, it
also challenged Army perspectives
on the Navy.
"The jack-speak versus Army-
speak can be a bit difficult but over
time you get to know that and I've
come to terms with Army-speak,"
"It makes my life easy down
the well dock. So when I've got
the troops down there, I can ask
'Where's your section IC?' or
'Where's your platoon sergeant or
platoon commander?' and they know
exactly who I'm talking about."
IN CHARGE: CPOBM Ben MacQueen stands in the well deck with
Photo: CPL Max Bree
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