Life on board an Aussie Warship from an American perspective

25 June 2013
by
LEUT Grant McDuling

As part of its embed with the US Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group, the Royal Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney has exchanged officers with the American Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Preble as a means to increase understanding, and ultimately interoperability, between the two navies.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Menza, a US Navy liaison officer from the USS Preble watches on as Lieutenant Commander Linda Morris acts as scene in-command during a helicopter crash on deck damage control exercise onboard HMAS Sydney.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Menza, a US Navy liaison officer from the USS Preble watches on as Lieutenant Commander Linda Morris acts as scene in-command during a helicopter crash on deck damage control exercise onboard HMAS Sydney.

Lieutenant junior grade Daniel Menza, USS Preble’s Repair Division Officer, was selected as the ships liaison officer to HMAS Sydney during the ship’s transit to Guam, including Exercise Pacific Bond. Pacific Bond is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.

According to Lt Menza, the way the two navies operate on a day-to-day basis is remarkably similar.

“The most noticeable difference I have found has more to do with the career progression of officers than how we go about our business,” Lt Menza said.

“I have also found there to be lots of camaraderie. I was interested to see that the way damage control exercises are conducted in the Royal Australian Navy is very similar to the way we go about it in the US Navy. This includes the way we evaluate the effectiveness of the exercises.”

Lt Menza says that his overall impression is that interoperability between the two navies is easy and transparent.

“This is good to know for future operations,” he said.

HMAS Sydney is currently embedded in the United States Navy’s 7th Fleet George Washington Carrier Strike Group that is stationed at Yokosuka, Japan. The ship sailed from her home port of Fleet Base East, in Sydney, Australia on 22nd April, 2013 and will be away for about 5 months.