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Address on the occasion of the presentation of the 2005 Gloucester Cup to HMAS Sheean.

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16 FEBRUARY 2006

·      Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas, Maritime Commander Australia ·      Commodore Rick Shalders, Commander Australian Submarine Group ·      Commander Paul Bartlett, Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling ·      Commander Geoff Wadley, Commanding Officer HMAS Sheean ·      Commander Andrew Keough ·      HMAS Sheean ship's company ·      Friends and families ·      Ladies and gentlemen Good morning, everyone, and thank you very much for your warm and colourful welcome - especially from the guard and band.   As Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force, it gives me great pleasure to return to HMAS Stirling to recognise excellence within our Fleet and our Defence Force.   As an example, just prior to Christmas I had the great pleasure to visit HMAS Parramatta on duty in the Gulf and I was greatly impressed by her crew's efficiency and morale.   The Gloucester Cup was instituted in 1947 by the then Governor-General, the Duke of Gloucester, and I am honoured to continue the Vice-Regal affiliation with this prestigious award.   The Gloucester Cup acknowledges excellence against a range of performance criteria, which include:   ·              operational efficiency; ·              husbandry and seamanship; ·              supply and administration; ·              officer and sailor training; ·              divisional systems, morale and discipline; and ·              equipment reliability, maintenance and resourcefulness.   The broad scope of these criteria demands consistency across the board; every department and each individual has a critical role to play in achieving the level of excellence recognised in the award of the Gloucester Cup.   Every ship in our Navy undergoes very thorough annual evaluation and assessment in the selection process for this distinguished award.   Our submarines represent an unseen, quiet and lethal deterrent; they protect Australia's vital sea-lanes of communication and provide outstanding capabilities of surveillance, attack, endurance and stealth—among the best in the world for any class of submarine.    For all these reasons, the Collins class is a critical component of our national security armoury.  

So the boat is a great one, but as all of us know, it is not just the equipment that does the job, important

as that is; but rather the coordinated, well led, well trained team that effectively utilises that equipment.   When a crew demonstrates sustained teamwork, loyalty and dedication - as you have patently done in winning the Gloucester Cup - you do yourselves and the Navy proud.   The Cup has been won by many notable ships over the years, including Quadrant, Vampire, Sydney and Hobart.  And in recent times, winners have included Arunta, ANZAC, Success and Adelaide, Kanimbla and last year HMAS Rankin.   Today, HMAS Sheean joins those prestigious names for outstanding performance during the past year.   In 2005, Sheean conducted a successful deployment to North Asia, including port visits in Japan and Thailand.   While deployed, Sheean effected the longest period at sea ever undertaken by a Collins class submarine (55 days) and performed a range of operationally challenging tasks, many of which were landmark achievements for the Collins Class.   Without exception, all tasks undertaken by HMAS Sheean and the Ship's Company in 2005 were completed with outstanding dedication, professionalism and commitment.   Besides the prestigious Gloucester Cup, this high level of service also earned Sheean two Fleet Proficiency Awards - the Voyager Trophy for Anti-Submarine Warfare Proficiency and the Electronic Warfare Proficiency Award.   To all members of Sheean's ship's company, let me emphasise that your winning of the Gloucester Cup, and two Fleet Proficiency Awards, are achievements of the highest order.   The Gloucester Cup was earned against very strong competition, especially given the intense operational tempo of our fleet over the past year.   Navy's commitments have included humanitarian assistance missions in Indonesia, coalition force operations in the Persian Gulf and the massive undertaking of Exercises TALISMAN SABRE and KAKADU.   You have served your country well and you have earned the respect and gratitude of a great many Australians.   And through your outstanding contributions, HMAS Sheean has served to honour the memory of Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean, the courageous and famous sailor who fought to the death for his ship.   I warmly congratulate everyone associated with HMAS Sheean - including, very importantly, the families who support you - and I wish you all the very best for the future.   It is now my great pleasure to present the Gloucester Cup to Commander Andrew Keough.