Home' Navy News : February 2nd 2012 Contents NAVY NEWS
12FREEING UP ME
IN CONTROL: ABCSO Brett Mayers keeps an eye out for threats from the air in the opera-
tions room on Parramatta.
FOR many Australians, a simple drive to a ser-
vice station to fill up the tank or a quick run to
the grocery store would not provoke immedi-
ate thoughts of the RAN.
Most Australians would not realise that some of
the goods they purchase at the supermarket and the
fuel they use has been provided safe passage to our
shores by Australian sailors deployed to the Middle
East Area of Operation (MEAO).
Anzac-class frigate HMAS Parramatta is on her
fourth rotation to the MEAO as part of Operation
Slipper and is the 27th RAN ship to deploy since
HMAS Parramatta is commanded by CMDR
Guy Blackburn and is deployed to the MEAO as
part of the Australian contribution to the Combined
Nearing the end of her six-month deployment,
HMAS Parramatta has conducted maritime security
operations in the Gulf region and the Horn of Africa,
counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in the
Gulf of Aden and supported a number of counter ter-
The 191-strong crew celebrated Christmas in the
Gulf of Aden, where spirits were high after receiving
Christmas gifts and well wishes from loved ones in
However, celebrations were brief as, even on
Christmas Day and throughout the holiday period,
operations did not cease and the crew remained vigi-
lant to their task of providing security to the strategic
waterways in the MEAO.
CMDR Blackburn said Parramatta's most impor-
tant role was keeping the peace in the sea lanes.
"Simply put, this means we are up in the Middle
East keeping the 'sea lanes, free lanes'," he said.
"We're making sure all the mariners and traders
of the world can get through safely, so that every-
body at home can get their goods."
Parramatta left Sydney in late September and is
close to clocking up 15,000 nautical miles.
"The deployment so far has been very rewarding,
everybody enjoys doing active service, this is what
we train for and it's the pinnacle of our careers to be
here, doing our job at sea," CMDR Blackburn said.
While it is never easy to be apart from fami-
lies and friends, CMDR Blackburn said the crew
remained firmly focused on the importance of main-
taining security throughout the strategic waterways
of the world and the Straits of Hormuz, ensuring that
millions of barrels of oil can continue to be trans-
ported through those sea lanes.
"This is a very important task that we are doing,"
ABCIS Mark Valvason has been in the Navy for
five years and said he was enjoying his time aboard
"At the moment my job involves the day-to-day
operation and coordination of telecommunications
onboard the ship," ABCIS Valvason said.
As HMAS Parramatta's deployment in the Middle East Are
an end, some of the crew look back on their four months a
LOOKING FOR SIGNS: ABCIS Mark Valvason takes control of the 10-inch signal light on the deck of Parramatta.
UNDER PRESSURE: ABMED Jess Mysko
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