In a momentous occasion for 816 Squadron members and the local community, the squadron conducted a freedom-of-entry down the main street of Caloundra, Queensland, on November 12.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer 816 Squadron Commander Lee Pritchard and members of 816 Squadron march through the streets of Caloundra. All photos byAble Seaman Benjamin Ricketts.
More than 100 members of the squadron, the Royal Australian Band, Fleet Air Arm Association and cadets from local units attended the ceremony.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Bradley Mossop stands to attention with other members of 816 Squadron.
In 1996, retired members of the Fleet Air Arm who were living around Caloundra initiated introductions between the squadron and the former Caloundra City Council.
As a result, Caloundra City Council first bestowed freedom-of-entry rights in 1996.
The squadron has maintained close contact and exercised its right to march into Caloundra since.
Commanding Officer 816 Squadron Commander Lee Pritchard said it was a “very special honour and privilege to lead the squadron through the streets of Caloundra”.
The City of Caloundra Mayor Mark Jamieson said the city was thrilled to welcome Commander Pritchard and his crew.
“This is a significant event, given our city’s proud history and our ongoing relationship with the ADF,” Mr Jamieson said.
“I’m thrilled we were able conduct a freedom-of-entry and play a role in 816 Squadron history.”
CAPTION: Caloundra mayor Mark Jamieson and Commanding Officer 816 Squadron, Commander Lee Pritchard RAN.
Visitors and locals lined the streets to watch the freedom-of-entry march.
The march included an MH-60R Seahawk flypast and a challenge by the Queensland Police Service, where Inspector Jason Overland welcomed 816 Squadron into the city.
CAPTION: A smoking ceremony is conducted during 816 Squadron’s freedom-of-entry into Caloundra.