HMAS Melbourne commemorates the end of OP SLIPPER in Adelaide

This article has photo gallery Published on ABIS Bonny Gassner (author)

Location(s): Adelaide, South Australia

HMAS Melbourne's Able Seaman Anthony Worso holds the ships Ceremonial Life Ring prior to marching in the OP SLIPPER Commemoration Parade, Adelaide City. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
HMAS Melbourne's Able Seaman Anthony Worso holds the ships Ceremonial Life Ring prior to marching in the OP SLIPPER Commemoration Parade, Adelaide City.
Operation SLIPPER veterans from the ship's company of HMAS Melbourne, along with nearly 2,000 South Australia-based Defence personnel paraded through Adelaide City on 21 March to the cheers of a large crowd of family and supporters.  

Adelaide local, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Anthony Worso, was centre stage as he proudly led his ship, holding the ceremonial life-ring. Able Seaman Worso was part of the HMAS Melbourne ship's company that deployed to Operation SLIPPER in August 2013 for a six month rotation. 

“To march the streets of my home town in front of friends and family as an operational veteran was a real honour," he said.

Growing up in the Adelaide suburb of Aberfoyle Park and attending Aberfoyle Park High School, he enlisted in the Navy in 2010 and has already spent a good portion of his career overseas. In addition to the period he spent deployed in the Middle East, he has been involved in other deployments as part of Operations AMULET and RESOLUTE and visited Japan and Hawaii.  

Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne, Commander Bill Waters CSC, RAN lays a wreath at the Cenotaph during the OP SLIPPER commemoration ceremony, Adelaide City.

Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne, Commander Bill Waters CSC, RAN lays a wreath at the Cenotaph during the OP SLIPPER commemoration ceremony, Adelaide City.

Able Seaman Worso said one of the most rewarding parts was working alongside military personnel from different nations. 

“Being able to fight against the smuggling of drugs into Africa gave me a real sense of accomplishment. 

"It was gratifying knowing that our contribution restricted the purchase of weapons to be possibly used against our allies or civilians.”  

During Operation SLIPPER Able Seaman Worso's role was the Navigator’s Yeoman and as a member of the ship's boarding team. The latter role involved him conducting searches of ships suspect of smuggling drugs and weapons. 

For the last five months he  has been a vital member HMAS Melbourne’s team during an intensive training phase. Commanding Officer Commander Bill Waters said the port visit to Adelaide was a well deserved break for the crew who have worked tirelessly and achieved much since Christmas. 

“Leading the parade was a fitting way to end a very challenging and successful period for the entire ship's company but it also had greater significance as we were the only Navy contingent in this otherwise Air Force and Army dominated city."

HMAS Melbourne deployed to Operation SLIPPER on two occasions (2010 and 2013) and the Royal Australian Navy has maintained a constant maritime presence since 2001, when the operation started.