A Royal New Zealand Navy sailor is gaining the full Aussie experience on an exchange program with the Royal Australian Navy, including taking part in first-of-class flight trials with HMAS Choules.
CAPTION: Royal New Zealand Navy sailor Able Logistics Supply Specialist Shannon Edwards on board HMAS Choules. Story and photo by Able Seaman Rikki-Lea Phillips.
Able Logistics Supply Specialist (ALSS) Shannon Edwards is from a small town called Kaitaia located at the top of the North Island.
She joined the Navy in February 2020 and completed her training to become a logistics supply specialist.
ALSS Edwards will spend her time in Australia posted to HMAS Choules, based out of Fleet Base East, working alongside her Australian counterparts.
“Some of the day-to-day tasks that we do are ‘plucking’, which is picking items for departments that have requested stores from the storerooms, demanding stores, mustering of storerooms, replenishing and ordering of stock for the ship,” ALSS Edwards said.
“There hasn’t really been any differences so far. It is the same routine, damage control is the same and it is just the slang that is different.
“It has only been a few weeks but I have loved my time in Australia, although I’ve found the hardest part is being away from my family.”
ALSS Edwards is taking part in the Anzac Exchange program, which gives two logistics supply chain sailors per year the opportunity to live in Australia and work with the Royal Australian Navy.
The sailors gain an extensive and diverse range of knowledge, skills and experiences to take home and share with their shipmates.
Choules has been conducting first-of-class flight trials with the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter off the coast of Queensland.
This will give ALSS Edwards the chance to visit Australia’s tropical north and explore with her new shipmates.
“I am looking forward to doing some sightseeing, spending time with my new friends and soaking up the sun in Cairns,” she said.
On her return to New Zealand, ALSS Edwards is hoping to go on the first of three courses required for promotion.