Australia: Aviation Support Welcomes its First Members


A clear lower deck was called at NU808 Squadron on August 26 when the Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, CDRE Peter Laver, presented the first members of the Aviation Support (AVN) category with their rate badges.

CDRE Laver also welcomed CPOs Robert Strutt, Peter Cassar and Christopher Swift, and LSs Andrew Easton and Michael Arrowsmith, and their families, to the RAN, the Fleet Air Arm and the Shoalhaven community.

CDRE Laver said with the coming introduction of the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ships, the AVN category would be fundamental in the success of aviation operations in the class.

“These five men will be critically involved in AVN course development and I anticipate they will all have important roles to play in guiding and leading this category,” CDRE Laver said.

Chief of Navy directed the re-establishment of the AVN category in March 2010. The five Royal Navy lateral transfer sailors enlisted in the RAN during a ceremony at Australia House in London on August 11.

CPO Strutt, who has 20 years’ Royal Navy experience, said the move to Australia was a major shift for him and his family, but it was one they were ready for.

I’m really looking forward to the challenges in front of me and building on the good work already done by CPO Mark Woodall in setting up the course,” he said.

LS Easton shared this enthusiasm. “I’m looking forward to working with the team,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to come to Australia and I was tempted by the lifestyle, sport and the challenge of something new, so I just thought ‘why not give it a go’?”

NU808 Squadron was chosen to host the event in recognition of the close professional relationship that will exist between the AVN category and 808 Squadron flights.

Source: navy, September 13, 2011;