A special march for Tassie ship

It’s the highest honour a town can give a military unit. And for the crew of HMAS Huon, exercising freedom of entry at Huonville in Tasmania’s south-east was a fitting way to mark 25 years of service before the ship is decommissioned later this year.

CAPTIONHMAS Huon personnel march through the streets during a freedom-of-entry march in Huonville, Tasmania. Story by Lieutenant Nicole Gallie. Photos by Petty Officer Christopher Szumlanski.

The ship’s recent history highlights the commitment of the men and women who have served in Huon.

The minehunter was deployed at short notice to Operation Resolute in the nation’s north in February 2023.

It then participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre, and was among the first responders to the scene of the MRH-90 helicopter crash that killed four Defence members in waters off Queensland in July 2023.

The newly-appointed Commanding Officer of HuonLieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks, said such service was admirable and he was proud to lead the ship’s company in a march through his home town on May 4.

“I grew up in the area and attended both Huonville Primary and High School. I actually took a small team from the crew to both of those schools to encourage students to consider a Navy career. It was time well spent and well received,” he said.

“There are endless opportunities. I was the first in the family to join the military. My youngest brother has now joined and he’s on HMAS Hobart.”

The freedom-of-entry ceremony, dating back to medieval times, was a special moment for Lieutenant Commander Weeks’ parents Beth and Darryl.

“It’s the first time they’ve seen me taking charge of a ceremonial procedure. It’s been 18 years of not being home for Anzac Day and not being around for their birthdays and all the rest of it. So this is a lovely feeling for them, I’m sure,” Lieutenant Commander Weeks said.

Lieutenant Commander Weeks is approaching the end of his career in the Navy permanent forces.

“I’ve travelled all over Australia and the world and loved every job. They’ve all been so uniquely different and I’m so grateful. The freedom-of-entry march into my hometown truly is a fairy-tale ending for me,” he said.

CAPTIONCommanding Officer HMAS Huon Lieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks at the Huonville Anzac Memorial before the freedom-of-entry ceremony.


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