Apart from joining the Royal Australian Navy, Bulahdelah local Leading Seaman Dion Cray is sharing another milestone with his great-grandfather.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Dion Cray on board HMAS Supply. Story by Lieutenant Jessica Craig. Photo by Leading Seaman David Cox.
“My great-grandfather, Chief Engineering Mechanic John Kenneth Silver served in replenishment ships HMAS Supply (I) and HMAS Stalwart (II),” Leading Seaman Cray said.
“I am following that legacy now as part of the commissioning crew for auxiliary oiler replenishment ship HMAS Supply (II) which was welcomed into service on April 10.”
Supply is Navy’s first of two new replenishment ships which will enhance fleet capability by extending task group time at sea for Australian and regional partner ships. Meaning those ships can travel further, for longer.
Leading Seaman Cray said serving on a replenishment ship like his great-grandfather was a surreal experience and one he would cherish.
“I am the first person in my family to follow into Navy service and now being posted to the second HMAS Supply is real honour for that family legacy,” he said.
Leading Seaman Cray said he was excited about working on a replenishment ship as it differed to his previous postings on board Anzac-class warships.
“I enjoy how Supply isn’t just a replenishment ship as it still can perform some warfare-like capabilities, but at the same time has the lifestyle of a logistics ship,” Leading Seaman Cray said.
“It is basically a completely new experience for myself which I am looking forward to.”
As part of his combat systems operator role, Leading Seaman Cray is in charge of controlling aircraft in tactical and non-tactical environments.
“What’s great about Supply is it has been upgraded from our previous replenishment ships to include a combat management system,” Leading Seaman Cray said.
“So as the only aircraft controller on board, when we have the MH60R embarked it is a similar environment and tempo to what I am used to on the warships.”
Now that Supply is commissioned, the ship and Leading Seaman Cray will begin their first-of-class trials and look to integrating fully with the fleet.
“Being first-of-class has been a big learning curve as I have never commissioned a ship before and am a newly promoted Leading Seaman,” Leading Seaman Cray said.
“However, I am looking forward to getting through the trials and being able to go on deployments and show other countries the capabilities of the Navy’s newest platform.”