Commendations for HMAS Melbourne

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Mark Doran (author), CPL Mark Doran (photographer)

Location(s): Manama, Bahrain

Members of the Ship's Company in HMAS Melbourne are awarded Commander Joint Task Force 633 Commendations at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain on February 3.  (L-R) AB Jason Duvall, LEUT Liam Catterson, PO Genevieve Richardson, PO Andrew Childs, PO Michael Watkins, LS Yu Su, LCDR Julian Brett and LCDR Tristan Radford. (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Members of the Ship's Company in HMAS Melbourne are awarded Commander Joint Task Force 633 Commendations at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain on February 3. (L-R) AB Jason Duvall, LEUT Liam Catterson, PO Genevieve Richardson, PO Andrew Childs, PO Michael Watkins, LS Yu Su, LCDR Julian Brett and LCDR Tristan Radford.

Nine members of HMAS Melbourne’s crew were awarded Commander Joint Task Force 633 Commendations at the Naval Support Activity in Manama, Bahrain on 3 February.
 
Lieutenant Commander Julian Brett, Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Darren Smith, Petty Officer Maritime Logistics – Personnel Operations Genevieve Richardson and Petty Officer Marine Technician Michael Watkins were awarded Silver Commendations.
 
Bronze Commendations were awarded to Lieutenant Commander Tristan Radford, Lieutenant Liam Catterson, Petty Officer Marine Technician Andrew Childs, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Yu Su, and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics – Personnel Operations Jason Duvall.
 
The awards were presented by Commodore Braddon Wheeler, Deputy Commander Joint Task Force 633 who congratulated the recipients and said it was not just individuals who made a team work.
 
“This has been a very high-performing team and everyone should be proud of their efforts in their deployment,” he said.
 
“HMAS Melbourne has a great reputation within the Combined Maritime Forces and the work that has been done during Operation MANITOU has been tremendous.”
 
“The professionalism and skills shown is key to making Navy and the Australian Defence Force better in the future.”
 
Lieutenant Catterson's commendation noted his diligent work and attention to detail as a consummate professional.
 
Lieutenant Catterson said he was simply doing his job as part of the team over the past six months.
 
“It was a long deployment, but it was also enjoyable to be a part of a successful tour,” he said.
 
“We have been kept busy, but it feels like we have made a difference.”
 
Lieutenant Catterson has three main roles aboard Melbourne.
 
As Special Sea Dutyman Officer of the Watch he is responsible for bringing the warship alongside and providing oversight for junior members of the bridge team.
 
Lieutenant Catterson also coordinates the training for damage control and fire-fighting exercises onboard as the Assistant Damage Control Training Officer to help the ship survive combat damage at sea.
 
In his role as the Assistant Principal Warfare Officer he provides direct support to the Principal Warfare Officers in the operational environment.
 
Lieutenant Catterson said the highlights of the deployment were the boardings and success of the drug interdictions.
 
“It was also a highlight to watch everyone grow as a team during the past 18 months and be awarded the Duke of Gloucester Cup,” he said.
 
“Our biggest challenge was maintaining focus for the long period away from home, especially during the Christmas season.”
 
Able Seaman Duvall was awarded his commendation for his outstanding devotion to duty, enthusiasm and reliability while conducting his core role as the Ship’s Registry Clerk, and his ancillary responsibilities including boarding parties and the Ship’s Emergency Medical Team.
 
He said his commendation was a reflection upon his supervisor, Petty Officer Maritime Logistics – Personnel Operations Richardson, who was a great mentor in the registry and the rest of the ship’s company who worked well together in the successful operation.
 
“We have done a good job,” he said.
 
Able Seaman Duvall said it was fulfilling to be part of Melbourne’s boarding party because it gave him a chance to see how Operation MANITOU made a difference.
 
“It is sometimes hard to change the mindset from my normal role of customer service to the complete opposite during boarding parting missions, searching for illegal narcotics,” he said.
 
“It has been a long trip, but I have made some great friends and had a good time with the crew.”
 
Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Manager Mark Baldwin and Able Seaman Avionics Technician Aircraft Callum Wirth are also recipients of Bronze Commendations and will be presented their awards upon arrival in Australia.