Mission first, people always

Published on LEUT Rilana Ostheim (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Melbourne (F05)

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne pulls alongside Garden Island Sydney, after six months deployed throughout the Pacific and North East Asian regions. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Melbourne pulls alongside Garden Island Sydney, after six months deployed throughout the Pacific and North East Asian regions.

Navy’s focus on balancing the wellbeing of its people with meeting the mission, is being put into action with an early Christmas present on the horizon for a number of Navy families this year.

Focusing on a sustainable generation of capability, a review of operational requirements was recently conducted by Navy and a decision was made to release HMA Ships Melbourne and Stuart early from their APEC Assist tasking to return alongside their home ports.

Commander Surface Force, Commodore Chris Smith, said that Navy is committed to balancing its operational demands with sustainable effort which includes actively managing its people’s work rate.

“The early return home of these ships is a practical example of the importance that we are placing on achieving that balance,” CDRE Smith said.

HMAS Melbourne’s Command Warrant Officer, Steve Cheeseman was one of the lucky ones to come home earlier.

“The early call to return to our home port got everyone very excited and was amazing for the moral on board,” CWO Cheeseman said.

“Coming home after five and a half months instead of seven is a great gift.”

Royal Australian Navy Flight Senior Maintenance Sailor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Darren Pretious, is welcomed home by his sons as HMAS Melbourne returns home to Sydney after a six month deployment throughout the Pacific and North East Asian regions.

Royal Australian Navy Flight Senior Maintenance Sailor Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Darren Pretious, is welcomed home by his sons as HMAS Melbourne returns home to Sydney after a six month deployment throughout the Pacific and North East Asian regions.

It has been a busy year for Navy supporting operations, exercises and trials spanning from the Middle East through Asia and the South West Pacific to the west coast of the United States with many officers and sailors being away from their families for up to six or more months at a time.

It is also intended to release other platforms from their activities as soon as requirements allow to get them home for a well-earned break over Christmas.