The Communicator of the Year award was made on HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, 9 December 2016. The Association was represented by Jim Blackburn, Frank Rands, Sandy Watson, Wayne Dyke and Danny Kaye. The recipient of this award was Able Communications Warfare Specialist Sarah Freeman. In addition to this award Sarah was also awarded the ‘Sailor of the Quarter’ so she really is an exceptional sailor.
The criteria for this award is measured as follows:
a. Performance: HMNZS Endeavour (END) has a small communications team which means members are often called upon to perform over and above their normal duties or formal training. When in company, ACWS Freeman keeps solitary bridge watches without supervision including during operations with multiple ships from foreign navies. She provides a reliable service covering all that is required by the OOW and Command in the set-up and execution of serials as well as unplanned exercises. She is competent in grade 3 Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres by flag, unassisted by the PO or LCWS. ACWS Freeman is quick thinking and can be relied upon to provide sound judgement and recommendations when serials do not proceed as planned and in emergencies. During END’s Work Up this year ACWS Freeman received specific mention by MOET staff commending her performance on the bridge and ability to consistently punch above her weight in accomplishing tasks and providing a superior service to END. Throughout the year END’s Communications Team experienced a high turnover in the LCWS position. During the periods the position was empty ACWS Freeman competently fulfilled many of those duties in addition to her own and ensured the Communications Department maintained a high standard of service. This was valuable in providing consistency and continuity in the department throughout the year allowing the POCWS to focus on operations at the Command level and junior operators could continue training and advancement.
b. Dependability ACWS Freeman is the longest serving member of the END communications team. She has a thorough knowledge of the Ship’s unique communication systems and routines and is competent in initial troubleshooting. With this knowledge she has been a key contributor to the training of the other two communicators on board from Ordinary Rate to Able Rate. The senior communicators can rely on ACWS Freeman to provide high quality training, and trainees can be assured the time and effort afforded to their learning and advancement. Additionally, as the only LAN trained communicator borne, she competently fulfils this duty with enthusiasm. This is a role still developing in the Communications trade and ACWS Freeman has shown ability in taking on new challenges and accomplishing tasks with little to no assistance. ACWS Freeman can be relied upon to put in extra hours, including during her offwatch, to ensure the Communications Department is providing the best service possible to the Command Team enabling the Ship to conduct operations without complication. This includes preparing the department before sailing and prior to serials, briefing the junior Communicators to ensure their knowledge is refreshed, and providing practical knowledge and advice to the OOW including teaching trainee Officers of the Watch.
c. Initiative As previously mentioned, ACWS Freeman is quick to ensure everything required of the Communication Department is provided to a high standard. As it is a small department on a Ship which regularly participates in large dynamic exercises with numerous units of different nationalities, it is often necessary for the junior members of the department to provide a higher level of service at a fast pace and with little to no direction from senior Communicators. ACWS Freeman can be relied upon to use her own initiative to have the department in good stead for every serial or exercise without assistance from the PO or LCWS. ACWS Freeman is quick to grasp a situation and develop an idea for a course of action. This is not only evident in her work as a communicator but also within the interpersonal relationships in the communal environment of a ship. Because of this she is highly valued by her Messmates and other junior sailors on Ship for her positive and mature outlook on life and caring attitude towards others when needed.
d. Additional comments ACWS Freeman has completed Aumangea Part One receiving great results and praise from both her instructors and classmates. Throughout this course, students 3 are put under immense psychological and physical stress all the while suffering from sleep deprivation, hunger, and exposure to the elements for days on end. Her notable performance on this course resulted in her being invited to participate in the inaugural Part Two of the Aumangea course. This is indicative of ACWS Freeman’s determination and resilience which are characteristics that are evident in her performance on Ship in the operational environment. ACWS Freeman is one of four girls who are cycling the length of the country in December this year to raise money for the medical treatment of a young boy with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy. They are collecting sponsorship and donations from numerous organisations and businesses from across the country. ACWS Freeman has been an active member of the team’s fundraising campaign, including conducting an interview for The North Shore Times as a means of generating public awareness for the campaign. Not one to revel in the limelight, this is yet another example of ACWS Freeman’s ability to project herself out of her comfort zone to help other people.
Divisional Officer Comment ACWS Freeman has experienced a busy year on END with SARC, consort to HMAS BALLARAT and TEK’s Work Ups, END’s Work Up, and finally continuation sea training in company with the regenerating TEM. Throughout, she has proven to be a very capable ACWS and as was highlighted in the CWS report on Work Up she can be relied upon to competently perform duties on the bridge above what she has been formally trained to do. The service she provides the OOW and Command without supervision is exceptional. She can be relied upon for knowledge of both communication systems and procedures of in company operations. ACWS Freeman is an intelligent person with an energetic personality who is enjoyable to work with.