Home' Navy News : February 17th 2011 Contents NAVY NEWS
February 17, 2011
FIVE ships with about 600 sailors and
officers are participating in Navy's lat-
est training program off the east coast,
Exercise Triton Storm.
During the exercise, HMA Ships
Darwin, Ballarat and Parramatta have
integrated with Air Force aircraft includ-
ing Hawks, F/A-18s, AP-3C Orions and
Wedgetails during anti-aircraft serials.
Coastal mine hunters, HMA Ships
Diamantina and Gascoyne, are also test-
ing crews' abilities to search for, detect
and classify mock mines. They are also
being tested on their preparedness for
various warfare serials within the strict
environmental and safety guidelines used
As the lead ship for the exercise,
Parramatta's crew were anticipating a
busy period, according to the ship's CO,
CMDR Heath Robertson.
"My ship's company is ready to take
on all the challenges of 2011," he said.
"Operating in company with other
ships and the support of Air Force makes
for an exciting start to the year. It will
allow us to practise our core skills to pre-
pare us for any eventuality."
Be sure to check out the March 3 edition for
full coverage of Exercise Triton Storm.
underway Tributes for fallen soldier
FAREWELL: Engineers carry the casket of
CPL Richard Atkinson after a memorial ser-
vice in Afghanistan and, inset, CPL Atkinson.
Main photo: CPL Christopher Dickson
By ABCIS Melanie Schinkel
AFFECTIONATELY known as
'Akka', fallen 1st Combat Engineer
Regiment (1CER) soldier CPL
Richard Edward Atkinson was
renowned for his cheeky nature,
sharp wit and exceptional ability to
The 22-year-old search command-
er was leading his section through
the Tangi Valley in the Deh Rawud
region when he was tragically killed
by an improvised explosive device on
CPL Atkinson's life and dedicat-
ed Army service was celebrated by
his 1CER mates and Mentoring Task
Force 2 (MTF 2) personnel at a poign-
ant memorial service at Multinational
Base Tarin Kot on February 5.
In a final act of mateship, SPR
Robert Rose, who was recovering
from injuries sustained during the
same blast, proudly but solemnly car-
ried CPL Atkinson's medals as his
casket was escorted through a kilome-
tre-long honour guard to an Air Force
The OC of MTF 2's Combat Team
Charlie, MAJ David French, described
CPL Atkinson as a funny bloke and
an excellent engineer.
"Akka was never happier than
when he was on the job and he was
bloody good at it," MAJ French said.
In a statement released by
Defence, the Atkinson family said
CPL Atkinson was very close to his
relatives and was planning to marry
his fiancée, Dannielle, and start his
own family at the end of his tour.
"Rich was a dedicated soldier
with long career aspirations. He
shared a strong mateship with those
he left behind in Afghanistan and
all his mates in Australia. He will be
missed by all and not a day will go
by that he won't be thought of."
Back in Darwin, 1CER's sol-
diers and officers lamented the loss
of their brother-in-arms at a touch-
ing memorial service at the 1CER
Memorial on February 8.
CPL Craig Anger delivered an
emotional eulogy and said CPL
Atkinson was a larger than life char-
"He was a funny man, but when
it came down to business, Akka
would be in there, gritting his teeth
and taking it in his stride in a 'she'll
be right' kind of way to get the job
done," CPL Anger said.
CPL Atkinson's long journey
back to Australia ended on February
10. His arrival home was marked
by a Ramp Ceremony attended by
CDF ACM Angus Houston and CA
LTGEN Ken Gillespie at RAAF Base
CPL Atkinson is the first soldier
to be killed in action this year and
the 22nd to die in Afghanistan while
serving on Operation Slipper. He is
survived by his fiancée, Dannielle,
parents, Ross and Kate, brother,
James, and sister-in-law, Sumah.
was planning to marry
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