Sweet relief on operational patrols

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Melbourne (F05)

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman (LS) Communication Information Systems April Sadler is deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou. LS Sadler's morale is high as she was only married in January, but it is her mother who makes sure Melbourne's crew get a taste of home with the freshly baked cookies she regularly sends from home. (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman (LS) Communication Information Systems April Sadler is deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou. LS Sadler's morale is high as she was only married in January, but it is her mother who makes sure Melbourne's crew get a taste of home with the freshly baked cookies she regularly sends from home.

HMAS Melbourne's Leading Seaman Communication and Information Systems April Sadler is patrolling Middle Eastern waters with a full stomach and smile on her face.

True to the saying that an Army marches on its stomach, a Navy ship's morale is linked to the outputs of the galley, and Melbourne's chefs have a secret weapon.

Leading Seaman Sadler's mother Jackie Marsh of Blackwater, Queensland, makes sure Melbourne's crew get a taste of home by sending home-made cookies to the deployed crew.

On this deployment Ms Marsh had already sent nearly 600 of her cookies to be shared with the crew

"On my last trip to the Middle East she sent about 3,000," Leading Seaman Sadler said.

"It's unbelievable the amount of effort she puts-in to keep us happy during our watches at sea."

The ship is undertaking patrols as part of Operation MANITOU, Australia's contribution to the multinational Combined Maritime Forces in the region.

Patrols occur in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf to intercept the trafficking of drugs that help fund international terrorism.

Leading Seaman Sadler said she was following in her grandfather's footsteps and wanted to give back to the country when she joined the Navy in 2005.

"George Wilson was a marine technician and a cook during the Second World War and he died when I was 15," the former Blackwater State High School student said.

"In my role I am part of a team responsible for the Melbourne's telecommunications and information systems.

"I work with radios, computers and use visual signalling such as flags to communicate with other ships."

Leading Seaman Sadler was posted to HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Albatross before joining Melbourne and has also deployed on Operations SLIPPER, CATALYST and RESOLUTE.

"I am proud to serve my country and it's not just Australia we are helping," she said.

"The good work we are doing in the Middle East didn't hit home until Melbourne's last drug bust when I saw how much heroin we had confiscated.

"I thought about how much damage it could do and the lives we probably saved.

"It's why we are here and it means a lot."

Leading Seaman Sadler said she was looking forward to returning home.

"I had to return to the ship for the pre-deployment workups straight after my wedding," she said.

"When I return home my husband Rowan and I are planning to go to the Melbourne Grand Prix followed by an overseas holiday.

"Finally we will be going on our honeymoon."