Tobruk returns

Published on SBLT Darren Watkins (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East

Friends and family gather on the wharf at Garden Island, Sydney to welcome home HMAS Tobruk from a six month deployment. (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
Friends and family gather on the wharf at Garden Island, Sydney to welcome home HMAS Tobruk from a six month deployment.

On 6 December, HMAS Tobruk sailed through Sydney Heads after five months away, and was welcomed alongside her home port, Garden Island by family and friends.
 
As personnel descended the gangway, Able Seaman Marine Technician Ashley Davidson dropped to one knee and proposed to high school sweetheart Hannah Lewis.
 
Able Seaman Davidson said Hannah was not expecting the question, but thankfully said yes.
 
“I’d been planning it for months. During the five months we were away conducting patrols on Operation RESOLUTE and visiting ports in South East Asia, I was thinking about how I would do it. Once I had the money saved, I emailed the jeweller and had dad pick up the ring and deliver it to me on the wharf.
 
“She was surprised, but said yes straight away. We’re now looking forward to getting back to normal now I’m home. The time away from Hannah was hard, but it was great for my career as I got a lot of qualifications and the ship got a lot of work done,” Able Seaman Davidson said.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Ashley Davidson proposes to his girlfriend Hanna Louis on the wharf at Garden Island, Sydney after returning home from a six month deployment on HMAS Tobruk.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Ashley Davidson proposes to his girlfriend Hanna Louis on the wharf at Garden Island, Sydney after returning home from a six month deployment on HMAS Tobruk.


Commanding Officer, Commander Leif Maxfield said since sailing in mid June, the ship has maintained a high tempo.
 
“We spent a significant period of time conducting civil maritime security operations as part of RESOLUTE off northern Australia. While providing essential capability to the operation, we completed a range of training activities, qualifying a number of Marine Technician sailors as well as Maritime Warfare Officers,” Commander Maxfield said.
 
“The in-company time with Armidale Class Patrol Boats and Mine Hunter Coastal vessels allowed us to consolidate Officer of the Watch skills and advance ship handling techniques.
 
“Outside of our RESOLUTE commitments, we also visited Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia and Manila, in the Philippines, where the ship's company were thanked for the support provided through Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations as part of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST in December 2013,” Commander Maxfield said.
 
“In October, we conducted a short maintenance period in Singapore and embarked 50 trainees from New Entry Officers' Course 51 for their Sea Training Deployment.
 
“MRH-90 pilots from 5 Aviation Regiment also had the chance to qualify using Tobruk’s flight deck as we passed Townsville, practicing deck launch and recovery drills. This also gave us the chance to refresh training and qualify Helicopter Control Officer and Flight Deck Marshallers before returning to Sydney,” Commander Maxfield said.
 
HMAS Tobruk, a Landing Ship Heavy, provides the Royal Australian Navy with a sealift capability and is critical to the amphibious capability.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143763.