3 November 2018
A rare award was made by the United States Navy to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Anzac frigate HMNZS Te Kaha at the Devonport Naval Base yesterday.
The award recognised the support provided by the ship’s company to 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, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said when presenting the award.
Admiral Richardson presented a pennant marking the commendation to the current Commanding Officer of HMNZS Te Kaha, Commander Brock Symmons. The Commanding Officer at the time covered by the award was Commander Stephen Lenik.
Admiral Richardson said Te Kaha flawlessly transitioned to help provide security and protection 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.”
The Seasprite helicopter on Te Kaha performed the first deck landing of a Royal New Zealand Navy helicopter on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
“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,” Admiral Richardson said.