Gordon Spooner from Aldina in South Australia has set a record as one of the longest serving members of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) vessels, which will be decommissioned this month.
Gordon is a marine technician who has served in LCHs for almost six-years, which is almost his entire career in the Navy.
"Having served on LCHs for just under six years, it will be a sad day when they are decommissioned this month," he said.
"I've enjoyed the opportunity to have served on them, and am proud to be part of the decommissioning crew because they have a long and rich history."
Gordon, who is a marine technician sailor with the rank of leading, posted onto HMAS Labuan in 2009, and is now serving in HMAS Brunei, which operated out of Cairns naval base.
Gordon knows first hand the important amphibious capability that the vessels have provided to the Navy.
Gordon joined Labuan when she undertook a deployment to the South West Pacific as part of the humanitarian assistance mission Exercise Pacific Partnership and a variety of other exercises and port visits.
"Visiting interesting places like Port Vila in Vanuatu stands out as a highlight of the 2009 South West Pacific deployment," he said.
"The most memorable thing about my time in LCHs was definitely having the opportunity to help Indonesian people with medical supplies during Pacific Partnership 2011."
Gordon has achieved a lot in the Navy since he graduated from Southern Vales Christian College in South Australia
But his thoughts often turn to home.
"The things I look forward to most whenever I get to go home are the good times with family and friends, and the amazing beaches.
"Some of my best memories are of Aldinga."
But one of Gordon’s fondest memories of the Navy was being presented his Marine Systems Manager certificate by commanding officer Brunei, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Richardson, just before the ship left Cairns for her final deployment.
Brunei had one last adventure in October, when she participated in a search to locate the remains of WWII sailor on Guluwuru Island, approximately 650km from Darwin.
Brunei travelled to Guluwuru Island in an attempt to locate the remains of Stoker Percival Cameron, who served in the Particia Cam, which was sunk by a Japanese float-plane on January 22, 1943, near the Wessel Islands, in the Northern Territory.
Army specialists and Indigenous cultural monitors travelled to the location after researchers provided information that indicated the remains could reasonably be found.
Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in this search.
Gordon's next posting will be to a Cairns-based patrol boat crew, where he looks forward to a new challenge of maintaining and operating the Armidale-class patrol boats.
The RAN’s three remaining LCHs (HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan) will be decommissioned in November 2014, after more than four decades of service to the nation.