The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Adelaide-class guided missile frigate HMAS Newcastle (FFG 06) is under new command after farewelling Commander Mark Sirois and welcoming Commander Anita Sellick.
Commander Sirois addressed Newcastle ship’s company at a clear lower deck ceremony at the Fleet Base East gymnasium to mark the change of command.
“I am extremely proud of each and every one of you. I could not have achieved what I did without your support,” Commander Sirois said.
“It has been a real honour working with everybody. Throughout the last three years, Newcastle has been my family.”
Commander Sirois’ tenure as Commanding Officer commenced in December 2015 and by his departure in January 2018, Newcastle had circumnavigated Australia and served in Exercise KAKADU, Operations KRAGLE and MANITOU. Under his command, the ship sailed a total of 38,453 nautical miles.
Further achievements during that period included the first ScanEagle flight trials for Navy and subsequently the first ScanEagle operational deployment. ScanEagle is a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system, which sends video and telemetry to a control station in near real time to fulfil primary roles of surveillance and reconnaissance.
Newcastle’s deployment to Operation MANITOU also saw the first Stingray operations during boardings, which allowed live footage to be relayed back to the ship, and the introduction of Bluetooth wireless headsets.
Commander Anita Sellick was welcomed to Newcastle as the new Commanding Officer and expressed her intention of getting down to business.
“I am extremely pleased to be here and take command of such a highly regarded ship and crew. Returning to Guided Missile Frigates feels like coming home.”
“I very much look forward to completing the post-maintenance trials and work up period so that we can once again focus on our scheduled activities,” she said.
Commander Sellick has brought extensive experience to Newcastle, having previously served in frigates, amphibious units and patrol boats.
She is a proud Novacastrian, originally from Merewether, south of Newcastle and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal in 2013 for her meritorious devotion to duty as staff officer Navigation and Seamanship and as Commander Policy, Australian Maritime Warfare Centre.
LEUT Robert McRae, Royal Australian Navy