Home' Navy News : August 30th 2012 Contents DEFENCE TRANSITIONS
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August 30, 2012
CMDR Andy Nelson
ON the evening of February 28,
1942, two ships fought together
against overwhelming odds by facing
the Japanese Western Java Invasion
Convoy in the midst of the Sunda
HMAS Perth I and USS Houston
were both torpedoed and sank within
30 minutes of each other, consign-
ing almost 1000 US and Australian
sailors to the sea and resulting in
the capture and imprisonment of the
This event formed a bond
between the crews of these ships as
they survived Japanese internment in
Thailand, Burma and Singapore.
Seventy years later, and in the
closing days of RIMPAC 2012, the
commanding officers of the current
Perth and Houston came together on
board Perth for a brief opportunity
to remember a common heritage and
strengthen allied bonds.
CO Perth CAPT Mal Wise pre-
sented CO Los Angeles-class sub-
marine Houston CMDR Paul Davis
with a copy of the Mike Carlton book
Cruiser which tells the complete
story of the cruiser Perth I.
The book had been signed by one
of the surviving members of the sink-
ing, (then AB) Fred Skeels, before
Perth left Western Australia in April
Both commanding officers
observed how the modern crews of
both ships continue to seek out and
understand the challenges faced by
the crews of their namesake ships, a
factor that helps to put the stresses of
life at sea into perspective.
Perth will participate in Ex
Kakadu in Darwin before returning
home to Western Australia towards
the end of September.
LSIS Paul Berry
HMAS Tobr u k participated in a
multiagency maritime counter-terror-
ism and emergency response training
exercise in souther n Victoria from
July 29 to August 12.
The 2nd Commando Regiment's
domestic counter-terrorist response
force, the Tactical Assault Group --
East (TAG-E), combined with Tob r u k
and other elements from Ar my and
Air Force, along with Victorian and
Federal Government security agen-
cies, for the complex exercise.
Tob r uk simulated a non-compliant
vessel in Port Phillip Bay and person-
nel role-played non-compliant crew
Army Black Hawks practised deck
landing procedures and TAG-E per-
sonnel fast-roped onto Tob r u k's flight
deck during the activity.
Officer of the watch LEUT
Harrison Ingham said the exercise
provided valuable aviation training
for Tobr uk's crew.
"Our flight deck teams, helicopter
control officers and officer s of the
watch were able to practise routines
for recovering and lau nching helicop-
ters and r un through the environ men-
tal parameters required for helicopter
operations," LEUT Ingham said.
"It enabled us to practise the basics
and solidify much of the training we
received in Ex Hamel in a more chal-
CO Tobr uk CMDR Tim Watson
highlighted the value of the exercise.
"It is very important to contribute to
high-level exercises that strengthen
our relationship with other ser vices in
the ADF and participate in activities
that enable To b r uk's ship's company
to step outside of the normal sphere of
Navy," CMDR Watson said.
Special operations commander
Australia MAJGEN Gus Gilmore said
TAG relied heavily on elements from
"Within TAG you have a fantas-
tic capability, which is complement-
ed by the other elements of Defence
and also of government," MAJGEN
"This brings together a very
potent counter-terrorist capability for
FRIENDSHIP: CO Perth CAPT Mal Wise presents CO Houston CMDR
Paul Davis with a copy of Mike Carlton's book Cruiser.
JOINT EFFORT: An Army
Black Hawk ferries Tactical
personnel toward HMAS
Tobruk, during a maritime
in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
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