December 15 2011 was the last day of operational flying for the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of Westland built Sea King helicopters. The Squadron using them HS-817 was also being decommissioned at the same time. The versatile and legendary helicopter fleet had being acquired during the 1970s to operate primarily from the former aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne in a ASW role but by time of their retirement they had been operating from the RAN home base and from selected ships at sea in a primarily utility support role. The newer S-70 Sea Hawk had replaced the Sea King in ASW operational capabilities.
The day was marked with sadness that a great team of pilots, technicians and support personnel were to be dispersed to other squadrons and role. The day witnessed former aircrew attend including the first HS-817 commander who reminisced with the current commander on the days gone by.