Home' Navy News : June 9th 2011 Contents CHIEF of Navy VADM Russ Crane
decommissioned HMAS Manoora at a
poignant ceremony at Fleet Base East on
May 27, the occasion marking the end of
an era but also signifying a new amphibious future
for the RAN.
The ship's Commanding Officer, CMDR Stephen
Dryden, said the occasion, while sad for some, was an
exciting step for the RAN.
"The end of Manoora's service is just a milestone
on the path towards a highly capable and exciting
amphibious capability," CMDR Dryden said, hinting
at the next generation of amphibious warships due to
join the RAN Fleet over the next three years.
He said he was proud to be Manoora's decommis-
"Her contribution has been significant and her
versatility has been immense. During her 17 years of
service to the RAN she completed every mission the
government required of her."
Manoora, originally known as the USS Fairfax
County, was purchased from the United States Navy
in 1994, and was then modified to provide the RAN
with an amphibious troop-carrying capability.
During her long career she exemplified her motto
"In War and Peace" by taking part in numerous con-
flicts and responding with humanitarian aid in natural
Her battle honours include involvement in opera-
tions Plumbob and Trek in Solomon Islands in 2000
Manoora was the primary non-compliant board-
ing asset in the Persian Gulf during the early days of
Operation Slipper. She also provided a sealift capabil-
ity for the war in Iraq in Operation Falconer in 2003.
In 2006 she proved the value of her troop-carrying
capacity by transporting 320 Army personnel, a Sea
King and four Black Hawk helicopters to East Timor
to restore peace and stability in the region. In 2009
she provided the flight deck for the world-first flight
trials of the MRH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter.
She spent much of the 21st century supporting bor-
der protection activities in waters north of Australia as
part of operations Relex and Resolute.
CMDR Dryden said it was Manoora's vast capa-
bilities that allowed her to support so many cam-
"She was a 40-bed hospital, an aviation platform, a
As HMAS Manoora's life in the Royal Australian Navy came to an
end in late May, those present at the decommissioning ceremony
remained confident one ship's end marked the beginning of an
exciting amphibious future. SBLT Sarah West reports.GOOD
PEOPLE just always
got along on
Manoora. It's just how
it was. I don't know
why. It was a laid back
ship to work on but
everything always got
done to the highest
standard. I loved every
minute of it.
"We did some
great things. Our
involvement in the
HMAS Sydney II
memorial is definitely
one that stands out in my
mind. I got to march up to
the side of the ship and drop
a wreath. That felt pretty
"Working with the Army
was good. The Ship's Army
Detachment was always part
of the crew. But the soldiers
we picked up off the beach
after exercises were often
-- LSCIS Elizabeth Newton served
in Manoora for two years
WE HAVE done a heap of
operations and a heap of
exercises and we excelled in
all of them. As a techo on
board Manoora I am really
proud of what I did and
proud of what all the guys I
have worked with have done.
"The Solomon Islands trip
we did in '03 was big. That
was a massive deployment
actually. We were involved
with so many evolutions.
There was amphib stuff
happening all the time and
aviation stuff happening all
the time. We really pulled
together and managed to
get some solid friendships
happening at that time,
because we spent so much
"The permanent Army
guys who served on board
Manoora were some of the
best guys I ever worked with.
They were really professional
and gave us a good insight
into how they did things.
There was never any tribal
warfare going on between
the Navy and Army guys.
We were all just part of the
-- POMT Nick Countouris
served in Manoora for
1994 -- HMAS
UNVEILING: HMAS Manoora's crew marks the ship's
commissioning in November 1994.
FLASHBACK: Sailors add the final touches ahead of
Manoora's commissioning in 1994.
A NEW HOME: HMAS Manoora takes to Sydney Harbour
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