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Grant Hatchman and Daniel Weier - School mates keep Navy flying

When Grant Hatchman and Daniel Weier first met in kindergarten in Willowbank, Queensland little did they know they would one day end up on the same Royal Australian Navy ship together.

Currently serving in HMAS Choules, the two lifelong friends joined the Navy within a couple of months of each other and both went into the aviation field. Grant and Daniel are Aviation Technician Aircraft sailors which means they are responsible for maintaining Navy’s new Multi Role Helicopters (MRH90).

And the coincidences don’t stop there, both Grant and Daniel played soccer for Ipswich Knights, Rosewood United and Raceview United soccer clubs, and both went to Amberley Primary and Rosewood High schools.

“We had originally planned a holiday to the United States which we had to cancel when Grant was accepted early into the Navy,” Daniel said.

“He went first, even though I was first to apply, he must have had connections,” Daniel added.

Both sailors have worked with Navy’s 817 Squadron, based at Nowra, NSW, and are currently attached to 808 Squadron, also based at Nowra.

Grant and Daniel are among Defence personnel currently taking part in the 14 day Exercise Sea Lion on the north Queensland coast. They are honing their amphibious landing skills and training procedures by transferring hundreds of soldiers and tonnes of vehicles and equipment from ship to shore. 

It is the first major joint amphibious exercise for their year and involves the Navy’s newest ship, HMAS Choules.  Displacing 16,000 tonnes, Choules is a Landing Ship Dock, or amphibious support ship, based at Fleet Base West in Sydney.

Exercise Sea Lion is a part of the Australian Defence Forces’ training and preparations for the transition to operations with the Navy’s new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD).  It is also a lead up to a major joint Australian and United States Exercise, Talisman Saber, to be conducted in Queensland next month.

Grant and Daniel are enjoying their time on Choules, but both are looking forward to returning home to go skiing with their girlfriends.