HMAS Choules gets new commander

Landing ship, HMAS Choules is under new management with Commander Chris Aulmann handing over the weight to Commander Dave Graham, while in the vicinity of Cairns, Queensland recently.

During his time at the helm, between November 2014 and December 2016, Commander Aulmann and the crew spent 318 days at sea; participated in Exercise TALISMAN SABRE, Operation RESOLUTE; sailed to Vietnam and Singapore; and covered some 54,031 nautical miles, over half of the total distance steamed since she commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.

Members of ship’s company assisted the Shire Council of Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the clean up of the Battle of Cocos Island memorial site, the beach and the Sydney-Emden walking trails around Direction Island and conducted port visits in Western Australia, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin and Singapore.

Most importantly Commander Aulmann oversaw the transition of Choules into a highly effective element of the Amphibious Ready Group.

“It has been a pleasure serving with such a hard working and resilient crew, and he looks forward to continuing to hear about the good work of Choules and her ship’s company as they move into the next phase of operations within the Navy and wider Australian Defence Force,” Commander Aulmann said.

Commander Graham brings an extensive range of experiences having served in frigates, patrol boats and submarines, taking part in exchanges to Canada and the United Kingdom, and a posting to major training establishment, HMAS Creswell, as the Executive Officer.

Commander Graham joins after his most recent posting as the Secretary to the Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, Commander Australian Fleet.

Choules is a large ship with capacity to embark large groups from other parts of the organisation, supporting the crucial sea training phase of New Entry Officers’ Courses and embarking elements from numerous Australian Army regiments and battalions.

She hosted visits from New Zealand Defence Force and Staff College, Singapore Staff and Command College, the Philippine Naval Staff Course participants and was also the host of some charity events including a visit from the Wiggles and Channel Seven’s Sunrise weather reporter to launch Legacy Week in 2016.

Commander Graham said he was delighted at the opportunity to lead such a fine ship and looked forward to an equally exciting and challenging program in 2017.

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