Tobruk's arrival at Ormoc

This article has photo gallery Published on SGT Dave Morley (author), CPL Jake Sims (photographer)

Location(s): Ormoc, Philippines

Topic(s): Operations, Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), HMAS Tobruk (II)

A landing craft departs HMAS Tobruk loaded with Australian Army Engineer equipment for the Recovery Support Force during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST. (photo: CPL Jake Sims)
A landing craft departs HMAS Tobruk loaded with Australian Army Engineer equipment for the Recovery Support Force during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

As HMAS Tobruk steamed into Ormoc on the morning of November 26, a light mist hid much of the city’s devastation.

It wasn’t until the mist lifted and the ship anchored just offshore that the true extent of the destruction became apparent.

Trees that hadn’t been uprooted had been stripped bare of their leaves, revealing scenes reminiscent of a bushfire.

Australian Army peronnel from Joint Task Force 630 drive though Ormoc, Philippines, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Australian Army peronnel from Joint Task Force 630 drive though Ormoc, Philippines, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

As far as the eye could see, houses had their roofs ripped off, but despite the widespread damage, Filipino kids were still running around the beaches smiling and waving.

Two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB) with divers from AUSCDT FOUR, and the ship’s boat carrying Navy Hydrographers, were the first into the water to begin their tasks of checking the conditions around the port areas.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four depart a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, after conducting beach reconnaissance for the Recovery Support Force amphibious landing during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four depart a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, after conducting beach reconnaissance for the Recovery Support Force amphibious landing during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

A pair of 35 Water Transport Squadron LARC Vs (amphibious cargo vehicles) was next into the water, reversing carefully down Tobruk’s stern ramp, before setting off to conduct a reconnaissance of the shore line.

One LARC drove onto a beach near the city centre and instantly drew a large crowd of interested onlookers, many of them children.

While recces were being conducted the Ship’s Army Detachment (SAD) lowered two LCM-8s into the water, causing the big ship to list to starboard briefly.

An Australian Army Land Rover disembarks a landing craft onto a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

An Australian Army Land Rover disembarks a landing craft onto a beach in Ormoc, Philippines, during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

Later, LARCs ferried elements of 3 Combat Engineer Regiment ashore. With the arrival of HMAS Tobruk, the next stage of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST is well under way.

Further information is available on the Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST website at http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/philippinesassist/home.asp.

Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132327 and the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20132312.

A landing craft approaches HMAS Tobruk off the coast of Ormoc, Philippines, to continue unloading Australian Army Engineers and equipment from the Recovery Support Force during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.

A landing craft approaches HMAS Tobruk off the coast of Ormoc, Philippines, to continue unloading Australian Army Engineers and equipment from the Recovery Support Force during Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.