Army and Navy celebrate birthdays in Fiji

Navy and Army celebrated their 123rd year on March 1 in Fiji aboard HMAS Stuart.

CAPTIONFrom left, Commanding Officer HMAS Stuart Commander Richard Raymond, Sapper Sean Egan-Richards, Seaman Thomas Brum and Australian Defence Adviser to Fiji Army Colonel Henry Stimson cut the 123rd birthday for cakes for Navy and Army on board HMAS Stuart while at anchor in Suva, Fiji. Story by Lieutenant Commander Andrew Herring. Photos by Leading Seaman Rikki-Lea Phillips.

As the Anzac-class frigate anchored alongside in Suva, an official delegation from the Australian High Commission visited the ship for the celebrations.

The occasion was marked according to tradition, with the ship decorated with pennants from the forestay to the bow, and specially made cakes cut by the most senior Navy and Army officers present, aided by the youngest sailor and soldier.

Commanding Officer Stuart Commander Richard Raymond and Australian Defence Adviser to Fiji Colonel Henry Stimson were aided by Sapper Shaun Egan-Richards, of 19 Chief Engineer Works, and Seaman Thomas Brum, of Stuart.

Stuart’s chefs baked three cakes that were shared among the ship’s company and their Australian High Commission guests over morning tea.

CAPTIONNavy and Army personnel on board HMAS Stuart celebrate the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army’s 123rd Birthday by ‘dressing ship’ while at anchor in Suva, Fiji, as part of their Pacific deployment.

Commander Raymond said the celebrations were an opportunity to reflect on everything Australia’s Navy and Army personnel had achieved together.

“On this, our birthdays, we recognise the work of our Navy and Army over 123 years, and the critical role we play together in safeguarding Australia’s security and wellbeing at sea, ashore and in the air,” Commander Raymond said.

“We ought to be proud of the important work that our forbearers have done, and that we continue to do, protecting Australia’s national interests.

“We must remember our work is made possible by the strength and sacrifices of our families and loved ones at home and we are mindful of them today.”

Colonel Stimson paid tribute to personnel over the past 123 years, particularly in the South Pacific.

“At the core of our Navy and Army are our people. Along with our Air Force and Defence civilian colleagues we come together with diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences in service to our nation,” Colonel Stimson said.

“Over many years, Navy and Army have made significant contributions to Australia’s neighbours in the South Pacific. We have worked together in times of crisis to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, trained together in combined and joint exercises, and enhanced our collective capability and capacity.

“Australia’s Navy and Army will continue to work closely with friends, allies and like-minded partners to ensure a peaceful, prosperous, secure and stable Indo-Pacific region.”

Stuart is undertaking a Pacific deployment as part of the ADF’s continuing program of Indo-Pacific regional presence deployments.

Stuart will participate in combined trials and training activities to enhance interoperability with Australia’s closest ally, the US, visit Pacific Island neighbours and support regional security through Operation Solania – the ADF’s contribution to maritime surveillance in the Pacific Region.

CAPTION: HMAS Stuart.  Photo by Petty Officer Leo Baumgartner.


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