Long-serv­ing sailor’s home visit

Bush Telegraph - - News - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

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.

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