On the eve of HMAS Toowoomba’s 17th birthday, the crew marked the completion of the mariner skills evaluation and the ship’s first week at sea since finishing the Anzac mid-life capability assurance program.
CAPTION: HMAS Toowoomba’s ship’s company celebrate the ship’s 17th birthday in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Story by Lieutenant Commander Kieran Davis. Photo by Leading Seaman Rappard.
Success in the mariner skills evaluation was an important milestone for the ship’s company, who have spent the best part of 2022 alongside, preparing the ship for sea after an extensive upgrade.
For many of them, Toowoomba’s first week at sea was the first of their naval career.
They marked the occasion with a steel-deck barbecue lunch before cutting the ship’s birthday cake.
Commanding Officer Toowoomba Commander Darin MacDonald said completing the evaluation was the culmination of 10 months of hard work and commitment by all on board. He was proud of the crew, who had completed the evaluation and taken the ship to sea for the first time in 838 days.
“It is also a special moment to mark the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the commissioning of Toowoomba (II),” Commander MacDonald said.
In keeping with naval tradition, the youngest member of the ship’s company, Seaman Clancy Mullen, cut the birthday cake with the Commanding Officer.
Seaman Mullen is a boatswain’s mate who joined Toowoomba in September for his first sea posting.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the first week at sea of my naval career, and my confidence as a mariner has grown considerably as a result,” Seaman Mullen said.
The birthday was also a special moment in the career of Captain Sea Training Group, Captain Brendan O’Hara, who was a member of the ship’s commissioning crew in 2005.
“I have had the privilege to witness a competent and motivated crew take their ship to sea for the first time,” Captain O’Hara said.
“It’s an honour for me to be on board to celebrate the 17th anniversary of commissioning,” Captain O’Hara said.
Toowoomba now enters a period of sea qualification trials.