RASamataz top of the pops as HMA Ships return from SEAD

Published on LCDR Dallas Gray (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Toowoomba (F156), South East Asia Deployment, HMAS Success (OR 304), Replenishment at Sea (RAS)

HMAS Success' ship's company band entertains HMAS Toowoomba during a replenishment at sea on their South East Asia Deployment 2018. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
HMAS Success' ship's company band entertains HMAS Toowoomba during a replenishment at sea on their South East Asia Deployment 2018.

HMAS Success ship’s band, RASamataz, has played live to a captive audience as the RAN 'Battle Tanker' topped up HMAS Toowoomba, during their South East Asia Deployment.

On a sunny afternoon transiting to Cairns, RASamataz put on a musical masterclass to the cheers and applause of their high seas audience, as Success and Toowoomba conducted a Replenishment at Sea (RAS).

Success Chaplain Andy Thorburn, the creator behind the six piece outfit, formed the band earlier this year from members of the ships company. Since deploying in March they have played several gigs at on-board flight deck functions, before breaking through to the big time with their performance as the backdrop to the Toowoomba refuelling.

For Able Seaman Combat System Operator Chris Lloyd, the band's drummer, it was a great experience.

“In my early teens I was bullied a bit, so I took up the drums which were a form of distraction. It became my passion and I try to find the time to play at any opportunity.

“Less than a week ago we were participating in a multinational exercise and today I’m jamming on the winch deck during a RAS, it’s a moment I’ll always cherish.

“You won’t find many jobs where you can travel the world and still take time out to enjoy the things that make you happy, the Navy gives you that opportunity,” Able Seaman Lloyd said.

Judging by the resounding ovation, I don’t think it will be long before RASamataz finds themselves back on centre stage, as Success prepares to sail across to her next assignment, Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii.

Success is currently conducting a five month deployment which will see the ship visit a number of ports in South East Asia and the Pacific, undertaking International Engagement and strengthening relationships with some of Australia’s close partners in these regions.