The Royal Australian Navy has celebrated the completion of 25 years of service by HMAS Newcastle at a ceremony to decommission the ship at her home port of Garden Island in Sydney.
CAPTION: HMAS Newcastle’s decommissioning crew march off their ship for the last time.
Since commissioning in 1993, Newcastle has steamed around 815,000 nautical miles, deployed on operations to the Middle East six times; earned battle honours for her service in East Timor, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East; and conducted peacekeeping operations in the Solomon Islands.
Newcastle also undertook a number of humanitarian operations, including rescuing two injured yachtsman from the Solo Global Challenger in the tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race and rescuing the crew of Ocean Rowing Boat Transventure in 2003.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said the Ship’s Company were honoured to be the last crew to serve in Newcastle and he was pleased the occasion could be shared with many former Ship’s Company, who attended the decommissioning ceremony.
“For those who served in Newcastle it was not just their workplace, it was their home away from home and they can look back on their time on board with pride,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
“The 5000 men and women who served in this ship achieved great things and, for some, Newcastle represents key milestones in their lives and their careers.”
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that Newcastle had been essential in protecting Australia’s maritime interests.
“HMAS Newcastle has served the Royal Australian Navy with distinction for over quarter of a century,” Senator Reynolds said.
“I pay tribute to the Ship’s Company whose service on Newcastle over the years has contributed to security at sea, at home and abroad.”
Newcastle was decommissioned to make way for the Hobart-class guided missile destroyers, which will provide Australia with an improved war fighting capability.