Warship warrior cuts for charity

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

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

Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Jason Duvall (centre) forms part of a HMAS Melbourne boarding party as they prepare to board a suspected drug smuggling vessel in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.  (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Jason Duvall (centre) forms part of a HMAS Melbourne boarding party as they prepare to board a suspected drug smuggling vessel in the Arabian Sea. HMAS Melbourne is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

When a Queanbeyan local left his hairdressing salon in Canberra to join the Navy he never expected to be doing his old trade on a warship in the middle of the Arabian Sea.

Able Seaman Marine Logistics - Personnel Operations Jason Duvall never has time to sit still in HMAS Melbourne because he always has something to do, and not always with his clippers.

Melbourne
is currently patrolling the Middle East region as part of Operation MANITOU, Australia's contribution to the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, aiming to intercept vessels smuggling illegal narcotics which are used to help fund international terrorism.

Able Seaman Duvall's main role aboard is personnel and office administration, however like all sailors at sea he has other roles to perform on the warship.

While at his desk he is responsible for all official incoming and outgoing correspondence, but when a suspected drug trafficking vessel is found he becomes an integral member of the boarding team.

He is also a member of the ship’s medical emergency team and the flight deck crew, who assist the ship's Seahawk helicopter to launch and recover.

Able Seaman Duvall said when there was time he cut hair for Melbourne's ship's company.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman (AB) Marine Logistics - Personnel Jason Duvall (right) cuts hair for Leading Seaman Marine Logistics � Supply Chain Ricky Anderson (left) on HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman (AB) Marine Logistics - Personnel Jason Duvall (right) cuts hair for Leading Seaman Marine Logistics � Supply Chain Ricky Anderson (left) on HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

"I still charge them some money, but it is all donated to my favourite charity, which is an animal shelter in Sydney," he said.

"So far I have done close to 100 haircuts aboard Melbourne and made about $1,000 for the shelter."

Able Seaman Duvall joined the Navy in 2012 for a change of pace and said this was his first operational deployment.

"I wanted to do something completely different and see more of the world," he said.

"It can be a challenge to juggle all my roles and fit them into my day aboard Melbourne.

"I have found it is best to prioritise which particular task needs my focused attention at the time, then go back to catch up my other jobs.”

Able Seaman Duvall said working and living in such close quarters with such a big crew can be a challenge.

"We don't often have opportunities to have a space to ourselves," he said.

"However, I have found running my hair salon on the ship is a great way to relax.

"I just put on some music, pull out some magazines and do haircuts."

Able Seaman Duvall said he was proud to be part of the crew and the early successes Melbourne had during its first patrol.

During that patrol, 427 kilograms of heroin were seized and brought aboard for identification and disposal. The drug seizure was valued at close to $127M AUD.

"We are making a difference and keeping the drugs off the streets," he said.

"It’s definitely been the highlight of my Navy career."

When the action is over and Melbourne returns home, Able Seaman Duvall said he will make good use of his time ashore.

"I am looking forward to catching up with my partner, Stuart, and my family when I sail back to Australia," he said.