Home' Navy News : November 12th 2009 Contents NAVY NEWS
November 12, 2009
By Michael Brooke
HMAS Tobruk (CMDR Peter
Thompson) will soon deliver vital
assistance to the tsunami devastated
communities of Samoa and Tonga.
Tobruk, aka the 'Faithful and
Strong', departed Fleet Base East on
October 27 loaded with a range of
goods, equipment and relief aid for the
two Pacific island countries that were
devastated by a tsunami on September
30. En route to Tonga and Samoa,
Tobruk made a port call to Townsville
to embark loading craft to assist with
accessing the remote islands.
CMDR Thompson told Navy News
that Tobruk's ship's company had
worked hard to prepare their LSH for
the disaster relief operation that could
span five weeks.
"This assistance mission will pro-
vide tangible support to the people of
Tonga and Samoa who are rebuilding
their lives in the wake of the tsunami,"
CMDR Thompson said Tobruk
would deliver a large consignment of
heavy machinery and donated goods
from the Australian public including
the Samoan and Tongan communities
in Australia, non-government organi-
sations and several businesses.
"Tobruk has embarked earth mov-
ers, generators, cement mixers and
other heavy machinery that will be
u sed in Tonga to clear debris and
rebuild over the next 12-18 months,"
Tobruk's departure follows an
announcement by the Defence Minister
John Faulkner of further Australian
support to Samoa and Tonga.
Senator Faulkner said Tobruk
Tartan Terror sails for Op Slipper
By Michael Brooke
A SMILING LS Eamon Obrien stood
out among scores of sailors and their
families who were making their tear-
ful farewells before HMAS Stuart's
(CMDR Andrew Masters) departure
on Operation Slipper on October 26.
The sorrow of loved ones parting
was in sharp contrast to the jubilation
of LS Obrien, who was elated at hav-
ing just received his Seahawk opera-
tional flying certificate.
LS Obrien received the certificate
of qualification from CO 816 Sqn,
CMDR Chris Smallhorn, only 30 min-
utes before Stuart set sail on her six-
month deployment to the MEAO.
The happy aircrewman said the
training certificate represented the cul-
mination of his Seahawk training as a
sensor suite operator.
"It's a pretty significant milestone
in my career and I am now eagerly
awaiting the opportunity to put my
skills to good use during Stuart's
CMDR Smallhorn said training
qualification certificates were usu-
ally awarded at 816 Sqn at HMAS
Albatross, "but the presentation before
Stuart sailed was designed to have
even more meaning and significance
for LS Obrien".
LS Obrien will have his work cut
out for him operating the Seahawk
Flight's sensor suite in support of
Stuart's anti-piracy and anti-terrorist
patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
Before Stuart's departure Fleet Base
East was the scene of emotional fare-
wells; perhaps none more tender than
LEUT Adam Stafford's farewell kiss
to his fiancée CPL Amelia Kelder, who
is posted to Defence Force Recruiting
They were just one of several cou-
ples who had postponed their wed-
dings until Stuart returned from Op
Slipper next year.
This is the third time Stuart has
deployed to the Gulf, with the frigate's
departure marking the Navy's 22nd
rotation since September 2001.
Stuart, which will replace HMAS
Toowoomba, was farewelled by 450
family and friends including Defence
Personnel, Materiel and Science
Minister Greg Combet.
Mr Combet congratulated CMDR
Masters for the ship's lengthy and rig-
orous training program in preparation
for the task.
"Stuart is well prepared and ready
for the important job before them," he
"I congratulate the ship's company
for their commitment in building upon
the outstanding reputation of the ADF
in the Middle East," he said.
BON VOYAGE: HMAS Stuart sailors
smile for the camera as their ship
departs Fleet Base East bound for
the Middle East.
Photos: ABIS Peter Thompson
TEARFUL GOODBYE: (Above) A
sailor shares a few precious last
moments with his partner before
BYE DAD: (Below) Alesha
Donaher and Thomas Clarke fare-
well ABCTS Brendan Clarke.
Tobruk joins tsunami relief
mission in Samoa and Tonga
would enable access to the remote
island of Niuatoputapu in Tonga,
"where the delivery of the earthmov-
ing equipment will allow reconstruc-
tion efforts to begin earlier and at a
faster pace than would otherwise be
"Along with the work in Padang,
this mission by Tobruk is another good
example of how the ADF and AusAID
continue to play an important role in
supporting our Pacific neighbours to
respond to humanitarian crises," he
Foreign Minister Steve Smith said
total Australian assistance to Samoa
and Tonga now stood at $13 million.
This includes $3 million for emer-
gency relief and recovery activities
($2 million to Samoa and $1 million to
Tonga) announced in the days immedi-
ately following the tsunami.
ON HER WAY:(Left) HMAS Tobruk
sails off the coast of Bay Rock
Island in Queensland, preparing to
embark a LCM8 and two LARC-Vs
from Townsville, before heading
for Tonga and Samoa as part of
Operation Samoa Assist.
Photo: ABIS Lincoln Commane
COME ABOARD: (Inset above)
A LARC-V from Army's 10th Force
Support Battalion in Townsville,
boards HMAS To b r u k through
the stern door while the ship
is at anchor off of the coast of
Townsville in Queensland.
Photo: ABWTR Alan Lancaster
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