About three hundred officers and ratings of the Royal Australian Navy are currently in training at the United States Navy's Fleet Training Centre in Newport, Rhode Island.
About three hundred officers and ratings of the Royal Australian Navy are currently in training at the United States Navy's Fleet Training Centre in Newport, Rhode Island. The Australians are to serve aboard the guided missile destroyer HMAS Perth when she is turned over to the Australian Navy later this month.
Several of the Australian seamen have become engaged to American girls. One such couple, shown in our film, is Seaman John Albert Pearce, RAN and his fiancee, WAVE Seaman Patricia Lee Roufe, USN. Seaman Pearce and Seaman Roufe met on the first day he was in Newport and became engaged shortly thereafter. The marriage is scheduled for May 22, and the couple plan to live in Australia. Seaman Roufe says she expects to join her husband there as soon as her hitch in the American Navy is over.
At the Fleet Training Centre, the Australians are trained in various skills they will need in order to man a ship built to American specifications. They also train in normal techniques of seamanship and ship handling. One such session, in a classroom, is shown in our film. The Australians are studying maneuvering board problems, involving the computation of course and speed to reach an assigned position. The instructor is an American Chief Petty Officer.
One spectacular part of the training, involving damage control and firefighting, takes place at the edge of the Centre. Each Tuesday a party of Australian Seamen attempt to extinguish a fire - blazing away in several ship-like structures. They then spend much of the ensuing week discussing the experience.
Our film shows an effort to extinguish an oil fire burning on the surface of a tank of water. Then it shows an attempt to put out a fire blazing away in a structure designed to resemble the superstructure of a ship.
The Australian commander says his men give every appearance of enjoying themselves. He says they do not find the training particularly arduous, and have mixed well into the social life of the base.
The HMAS Perth recently completed her acceptance trials on Lake Kuron, near Bay City, Michigan, where she was built. A core crew of Australians will be aboard when the ship sails for Boston later this month. The voyage will take her through the Great Lakes, and St. Lawrence Seaway and River, and through the Atlantic to Boston. There she will be turned over by her builders to the U.S. Navy, and turned over by them to the RAN. In mid-June , the men now training at Newport will sail her home.