REVEALED: Inside look at Navy choppers in Gladstone
THE Royal Australian Navy loves Gladstone.
Chief Petty Officer Paul Wetherspoon made the comments while he was stationed at the Gladstone Airport to respond to the impacts of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie in the region.
"We've absolutely loved it here in Gladstone, the people are brilliant," he said.
"The people here have been spectacular, they've been welcoming.
"I'm from Toowoomba originally, I like Queensland."
WATCH | Inside look at the Navy's operation in Gladstone
Chief Petty Officer Wetherspoon, who is based at Nowra on the HMAS Albatross with the 808 Squadron, said it had been "flat out" during the time they had been here.
The helicopters are heading back to Nowra, near Wollongong, this weekend.
"When we do humanitarian work, we've normally got 48 hours to move," Chief Petty Officer Wetherspoon said.
"For this we moved three aircraft in 24 hours.
"We were ready to go before the storm hit."
LOOK BACK | Gladstone helps out northern neighbours
The helicopters were stationed in Townsville as the cyclone hit the coast near Airlie Beach, and then moved south to Gladstone to help out in the region, particularly Rockhampton, during the floods.
During the intense storm they transported VIPs, delivered water and other supplies and evacuated people from the Whitsunday Islands.
Having been with the Navy for 32 years, Chief Petty Officer Wtherspoon said humanitarian and disaster relief work was all part of the Navy's job.
"We just did what was required," he said.
"When the storm first started to flash up that weekend, it was just all hands on deck."
Since things have got back to normal, he said the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Police had come out to see the two helicopters at the airport.
"We're here to support them," he said.