Sprite overhead

Naval Cadets from Coffs Harbour?s TS Vendetta inspect the chopper.
Naval Cadets from Coffs Harbour?s TS Vendetta inspect the chopper.

WHEN one of the Australian Navy's newest aircraft does its flyover of Coffs Harbour at today's main Anzac Day service, its engines will have got their final spit and polish from one of the Coffs Coast's own.

Leading Seaman Tammy Rodgers, originally from Woolgoolga, is back on home turf in Coffs Harbour today with 36 other members of the Royal Australian Navy's 805 Squadron, who are visiting Coffs Harbour with one of their new Super Seasprite helicopters as part of the Anzac Day celebrations.

Tammy Rodgers, whose parents still live in Woolgoolga, is an aviation technician airframes (AVA) for the helicopter.

She joined the Navy eight years ago and moved to the new 805 Squadron in March 2003, changing tools to work on the advanced Seasprites from the smaller and less complex Squirrel helicopters of 723 Squadron.

Yesterday Tammy Rodgers said although she enjoyed her work, it was the lasting friendships that made working in the Navy so special. This morning she will read the ode at Coffs Harbour's Dawn Service as well as joining in the later service.

While Tammy Rodgers has firm ties with Coffs Harbour, Lieutenant Commander Ian Parrott, the executive officer with the visiting Navy team and second in command of 805 Squadron, is hoping the whole squadron can establish firm and lasting ties with the Coffs Coast.

He is hoping to bring several helicopters and crews to Coffs Harbour every Anzac Day and establish a community relationship 'with somewhere a lot warmer than Nowra' as well as using the visit to carry out valuable training exercises.

LCDR Parrott, whose team and helicopter is being hosted by Vaughn and Julie Jones and their Coffs Harbour Jet Centre, said Coffs Harbour had a good airfield and it was an ideal area in which the Navy crews could carry out flight training and work on basic pilot skills.

The Seasprite's versatility also allows it be be used for search and rescue and humanitarian missions.

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