The Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters and 817 Squadron have made their final flight as part of a decommissioning ceremony held at HMAS Albatross in Nowra today.
The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, were on hand to welcome the final flight and thank the 817 Squadron who operated the helicopters.
"Australia’s Sea Kings are being retired after a remarkable 35 years serving in times of conflict, peacekeeping, natural disaster, search and rescue and national celebration,” Mr Snowdon said.
“In particular I’d like to thank the men and women of the 817 Squadron past and present, who have served with distinction over the past 48 years.”
“They have lived up to their motto ‘Aude Facere’ – ‘Dare To Do’, and have always served Australia with professionalism and skill.”
“They were there for the 1994 bushfires, the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the 2001 North NSW floods and just this year in the South East Queensland flood relief.”
“I also pay tribute to those who have lost their lives while serving in 817 Squadron, their service and sacrifice must never be forgotten,” he said.
The Australian Government announced in June, that Sea King shark 07 would be included in the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra, to preserve the Sea Kings’ heritage for future generations.
Commander Paul Moggach, the 817 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, led a formation leaving from the Naval Air Station at HMAS Albatross yesterday.
The formation made a flying visit up the NSW coast, arriving over Sydney for a flight up Sydney Harbour, followed by a flyover the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs described today’s ceremony as a fitting end to a remarkable career for both the personnel of 817 Squadron and the Sea King Helicopters.
“The Sea Kings are commonly known as the Mack trucks of the skies. All who have maintained and operated them feel honoured to have done so,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“After 35 years, it is time to look to the future with a new generation of aircraft.
“The personnel of 817 Squadron are first rate members of the Navy.
“They’ll now apply their experience, commitment and expertise in other roles throughout the Navy and ADF Aviation, and I wish them well in their new roles,” said Vice Admiral Griggs.
Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon) 02 6277 7820
LEUT Andrew Herring (817 Squadron) 0410 456 676
Ms Dallas McMaugh (HMAS Albatross) 02 4424 3149 or 0428 671 519
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999