Blessing of the Valkyrie

HMAS Toowoomba’s embarked aviation team, Flight 607 Valkyrie, received a blessing from the ship’s chaplain during recent preparations for regional presence deployment.

CAPTIONRoyal Australian Navy Chaplain Bradley Galvin, left, and Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba Commander Darin MacDonald during a blessing ceremony for the embarked MH-60R helicopter Valkyrie. Story and photo by Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez.

When Leading Seaman Anthony ‘Treasure’ Hunt reached out to embarked Chaplain Reverend Brad Galvin about a blessing service for Valkyrie, the Padre quickly gained approval from the commanding officer.

Leading Seaman Hunt approached Chaplain Galvin for the blessing to bring the crew closer together.

“It’s nice to know from an aircrew perspective that our aircraft and crew have been blessed when we’re out there,” Leading Seaman Hunt said.

“I thought it would be an excellent morale boost for the team and a great way to unite pre-deployment.”

The Blessing of Flight 607 was conducted on HMAS Toowoomba’s flight deck where the team formed up next to Valkyrie.

After the Naval Prayer and the Fleet Air Arm Prayer, Petty Officer Michael Pearse gave a short and engaging address on the service, capability and history of the MH-60R.

During the prayer for Valkyrie, Commander Officer HMAS Toowoomba Commander Darin MacDonald played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, which was a special and unique touch.

Chaplain Galvin then asked Flight 607 to take a knee where he prayed for them, their families and diligence in fulfilling their roles while on deployment.

Commander MacDonald said there was always a place for making time to honour our people.

“My hope is that this service allowed the team to stop and reflect on the joys and challenges of their service, but also, I trust it reminded them of the need for teamwork, courage in speaking up when needed and the high importance of aviation safety,” Commander MacDonald said.

After the service, Flight 607 thanked their Padre for conducting the blessing and then quickly changed gears to finish off the day with an aircraft wash.


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One thought on “Blessing of the Valkyrie

  • 09/10/2023 at 9:51 am
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    I’m amazed that such a practice continues in this century without a gaggle of assorted clergy.. Is the speaker obliged to give a generic prayer which is theistic rather than Christian as once would have been the case?
    “Amazing grace” is a predictable choice (if done to death in many contexts) and very suitable for the pipes but how many would recognise its composer and his history.
    A CO who is a piper? That’s my kind of CO.

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