Rare US Navy award to Anzac frigate
A rare award was made by the United States Navy to the New Zealand Defence Force’s Anzac frigate, HMNZS Te Kaha at the Devonport Naval Base today.
The award recognised the exceptional standard of support from the Ship’s company of HMNZS Te Kaha for the US Navy for a week in June/July last year.
Te Kaha demonstrated the “highest standards of seamanship and readiness when directed to extend her deployment to support the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet after a collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS FITZGERALD and a Philippines container ship off the coast of Japan” in June 2017.
The US Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson presented a pennant marking the commendation to the present Commanding Officer of HMNZS Te Kaha, Commander Brock Symmonds (CO at the time was CDR Stephen Lenik).
Admiral Richardson said Te Kaha flawlessly transitioned to security and protection mission sets as part of the NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group.
“This award is very rare and is kept for very special occasions,” he said. “Te Kaha’s contribution was vital to maintain freedom of trade which leads to prosperity for our countries.”
“Te Kaha expertly executed a full range of military missions; she conducted rendezvous with US Navy ships, a replenishment at sea, sea rider exchanges, a passenger transfer, formation steaming, and division tactics as well as commanding a Surface Action Group.
“The synchronized efforts of this exceptional ship and crew enabled uninterrupted regional security, maritime operations, and training for the NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group,” he said.
The Seasprite helicopter on board Te Kaha, performed the first ever deck landing of a RNZN helicopter on the deck of the USS NIMINTZ.
“By their truly distinctive accomplishments, perseverance, and devotion to duty, the officers and enlisted personnel of HMNZS Te Kaha reflected credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the naval service,” said Admiral Richardson.