Home' Navy News : July 7th 2011 Contents NAVY NEWS
July 7, 2011
By SBLT Sarah West
and Michael Brooke
EXCITED family members have
welcomed home the ship's compa-
ny of HMAS Stuart, which returned
to Sydney on June 30 after a suc-
cessful six-month mission in the
Middle East Area of Operations.
The Anzac-class frigate was
also met on the wharf by Defence
Minister Stephen Smith, NSW
Governor Professor Marie Bashir,
and federal, state and local govern-
ment officials as she berthed along-
side at Garden Island.
The crew of the vessel, which is
affectionately known as the 'Tartan
Terror', presented loved ones with
red roses as they reunited on the
Stuart set sail for the MEAO
in December to play a vital role in
Operation Slipper. Her 191 crew
members served with distinction dur-
ing the deployment, which featured
300 vessel queries, more than 19
boardings, as well as a search and
The ship also rendered assistance
to several vessels that needed medi-
cal and mechanical assistance.
Her most notable achievements
included rescuing three Yemeni fish-
ermen held hostage by suspected
Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa
and disabling an unoccupied pirate
skiff by live fire using her 12.7mm
Mr Smith praised the crew's dedi-
cation to the mission.
"These operations are very impor-
tant in maintaining and developing
maritime security and stability and
prosperity in the Middle East area,"
Over the course of the 184-day
deployment, Stuart travelled 70,000
kilometres and her helicopter com-
pleted more than 113 sorties, amass-
ing more than 330 hours in the air.
The ship's company exchanged
more than 4000kg of mail to keep in
touch with friends and family back
home in Australia.
COMAUSFLT RADM Steve
Gilmore thanked the families of the
ship's company for their sacrifice.
"Our men and women cannot
deploy without the support of their
families and friends," he said.
"I know from personal experience
the challenges and difficulties in see-
ing loved ones deploy to a tense and
sometimes hostile environment. Your
sacrifices are not forgotten."
Among the reunions were several
that featured crew members embrac-
ing their newborn babies for the first
time, including LCDR Josh Wilson,
ABATA Ben Elliot and ABBM
Executive Officer LCDR Wilson
met his son Angus, in person, for the
first time, soon after Stuart berthed.
ABATA Elliot and ABBM
Conway said they used the internet
and Skype to stay in contact with
their new babies and their wives.
Another fond reunion was
between LCDR Leigh Benning and
his wife Kylie, who gave birth to
their baby girl just a few days before
Stuart departed late last year.
Stuart's return to Sydney marks
the end of the 25th rotation of RAN
ships to the Middle East since
HMAS Toowoomba is currently
deployed on Operation Slipper (see
Job well done
Tartan Terror home from Slipper
By LCPL Leif Abraham
THE RAN Band and Australia's
Federation Guard (AFG) joined forces
from May 31 to June 2 to represent
the nation at the Brunei Military
The combined team developed a
precision-drill display of more than 300
specific movements synchronised with
an orchestrated musical routine.
This was a unique experience for
the RAN Band and AFG Precision Drill
Team (PDT) as it was the first time
members of both groups had worked
together on the international stage.
AFG Executive Officer CAPT
Kathryn Christie said the 300 specific
drill movements conducted by the PDT
were performed without any words of
CAPT Christie said it was also the
first time that new, dynamic moves were
added to the PDT display, including
weapon twirling, throwing and catching.
"The guardsmen from the Navy,
Army and Air Force that make up the
PDT require incredible levels of skill,
concentration and teamwork, which is
perfected through many hours of prac-
tice," CAPT Christie said.
"The PDT regularly travel all over
Australia performing for events like
careers expos, charity functions and
sporting grand finals, but this is the first
time they have travelled overseas as a
ABCSO Aumau Falepau said being
part of the Tattoo was a great experience
for all members involved.
"The contingent experienced differ-
ent types of military musical cultures of
other countries from all over the world,"
ABCSO Aumau Falepau said.
RAN Band and AFG
on show in Brunei
LOOKING GOOD: The RAN Band and Australia's Federation Guard per-
form in the Brunei Military Tattoo.
Photo: LCPL Leif Abraham
WELCOME HOME: CPOATA Gordon Davis
holds his son Aston with wife Jacinta, and sons
Liam and Mitchell, after returning from deploy-
ment while, inset, LCDR Josh Wilson greets his
Photos: ABIS Lee-Anne Mack
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