Coonawarra welcomes US submarine tender

A United States submarine tender received a warm welcome to Darwin, as the first stop in a busy schedule of port visits around Australia.

CAPTIONPetty Officer Darren Trewern speaks with a member of USS Emory S. Land during a tour of Fleet Support Unit – North during a port visit to Darwin. Story by Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Williamson. Photo by Petty Officer Leo Baumgartner.

Commanding Officer HMAS Coonawarra Captain David Shirvington welcomed Commanding Officer USS Emory S. Land Captain Brent Spillner and his crew to Darwin, where they conducted a number of training evolutions and maintenance work on Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships.

Following a five-month personnel exchange program in Guam, 17 RAN personnel embarked in Emory S. Land and integrated with ship’s crew to gain skills and experience on how to conduct maintenance on board a nuclear-powered submarine.

These members formed a cohort of 37 volunteers, with the remaining members continuing their training in Guam on board USS Frank Cable, Emory S. Land’s sister ship.

Electronics Technician Petty Officer Darren Trewern, who was on board Emory S. Land, took US Navy members on a tour of Fleet Support Unit – North (FSU-N).

The US sailors explored the unit’s workshop in preparation for a fabrication task the following day.

The task would usually be conducted by the technical sailors of FSU-N, but the arrival of the US repair sailors offered a rare opportunity for the two navies to work together.

“It was great to see how easily the team at FSU-N quickly integrated with the Emory S. Land crew that I have been working with these past five months,” Petty Officer Trewern said.

“On the day of the fabrication task, everyone knew exactly what to do and quickly got on with the job as a team.”

In a separate activity, US Navy engine technicians, FSU-N personnel and HMAS Gascoyne members conducted an engine overhaul on Gascoyne, a Houn-class minehunter vessel.

Marine Technician Able Seaman James Cooper, who normally works on board these vessels in Sydney, was integral in guiding his US Navy counterparts through the complex 12-hour task.

“The joint crew worked cohesively and brought a high level of focus and their technical skills to the task, which provided a successful outcome for the team,” Able Seaman Cooper said.

As the deployment continues, the sailors will continue to deepen their learnings and experience of maintenance at-sea and alongside, in the lead up to the submarine tendered maintenance period later this year.


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