Long-serving sailor’s home visit
Sailor stop your roaming starts a wellknown old standard but Warrant Officer Kevin Stinson, formerly of Dannevirke, is not quite ready to do that yet, even after 45 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy.
He enlisted at 17 in 1974 with a number of other Dannevirke locals, having decided shepherding was not his thing.
Now he is the second longest serving sailor in the New Zealand Navy with no immediate plans to quit.
Kevin dropped into Dannevirke to visit his brother Ron on Sunday and over an ale he shared some of his experiences in his long career, mostly at sea.
After training in 1975 he was soon at sea visiting Singapore in an Asian tour and opening his eyes to the big wide world.
That summer he sailed to Campbell Island with some scientists to bring back 10 sheep, which were descendants of sheep landed in 1895, after a grazing lease was let.
Abandoned in 1931, in isolation the sheep had developed resistance to footrot and a propensity to shed their fleeces and were brought back to New Zealand where they are farmed in North Canterbury.
Since then Kevin has been on many tours of duty, including RIMPAC exercises with all the navies of the Pacific Rim until the mid-80s nuclear stance put NZ out of that alliance.
He has been on Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf patrols keeping the peace, fishing protection tours and visits to other countries.
He went to the UK in 1982 to help bring back a warship used by the British in the Falklands War, which New Zealand had purchased.
In 2005 Kevin was on the Endeavour, one of two ships to be the first to visit Russia when it berthed in the port of Vladivostok.
He was away at sea for much of the year.
In 1978 on the HMNZS Waikato he was on a RIMPAC operation near Fiji until Easter before being deployed on fishery protection near Campbell Island for six months.
Just last year he was at sea for 47 of the 52 weeks as a member of the navy’s Green Team which inspects a ship’s performance.
His speciality was fleet seamanship. Kevin has risen from seaman to Petty Officer to Chief Petty Officer for 25 years to Warrant Officer currently.
He is involved with Cadet Forces for young people aged 13 to 18, which involves the three branches of the armed forces.
Changes have him thinking this might be where he will be for the next year or two.
Kevin said a career in the Navy is a great way to see the world and anyone who can handle an Xbox has the skills to cope.
“It’s very technical now,” he said.
THE Campbell Island sheep penned before their transfer back to New Zealand in 1975.
WARRANT officer Kevin Stinson with his brother Ron at the Services and Citizen’s Club on Sunday evening May 27.