Able Seaman Electronic Technician Aaron Scott is currently serving in his third ship in his five years with the Royal Australian Navy, and as part of HMAS Arunta’s ship's company, he is preparing to arrive in Subic Bay, in the Philippines.
Arunta and HMAS Sirius have come from India, just completing the inaugural AUSINDEX15, a bilateral maritime activity between Australian and India, and will be renewing friendships during a scheduled port visit.
Australian-Philippines Defence cooperation dates back to the Second World War and both countries are members of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium.
In more recent times, Royal Australian Navy ship, HMAS Tobruk, undertook 14 days of tasking in the Ormoc area in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda, force assigned to Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST. During this tasking the ship and its embarked capabilities visited four districts and distributed over 100 tonnes of food and humanitarian aid stores. The ship also completed survey and clearance tasks and supported local infrastructure remediation.
The Philippine Navy sent BRP Ramon Alcaraz to participate in Exercise KAKADU 14, staged in Darwin and HMAS Larrakia visited the Philippines in 2014.
But for Able Seaman Scott, this visit has been long anticipated as the Nowra-born member is of Filipino heritage and only visited his mother’s native country for the first time, about five years ago.
“This time in the Philippines will be my second visit and will give me an opportunity to see my aunties and uncles, and about 40 cousins,” he said.
“My parents still live in Australia, but my mother is from Calbayog in the Samar province of the Philippines, about 475 kilometres from Manila.
“Growing up, I didn’t really know a lot about my Filipino heritage until I finally got to visit. It made me appreciate how important family relationships are in my culture.
“I’m now based out of Western Australia, however, I go back to Nowra as often as I can to see my parents, grab a home-cooked meal and catch up with old school mates,” he said.
The 24-year old Electronics Technician is part of Arunta's team for her North East Asian deployment.
“This deployment is especially important to me as I am able to visit the Philippines again, and I’ll feel proud that my family will get to see me doing my job.
“It will also be a good opportunity to embrace, explore and remember what my background culture is all about,” Able Seaman Scott said.
Able Seaman Scott enjoyed working with computers and electronics so much that he signed up as a Electronics Technician which involved 38 weeks of Initial Technical Training at HMAS Cerberus. Now holding a Certificate IV in Electronics, his job at sea involves maintaining Navigational Aids as well as Sonar Systems.
“I really enjoy the challenge of fault finding and trouble shooting complex systems.
“I’m also the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat Coxswain for the port sea boat,” Able Seaman Scott said.
“My goals in the Navy are to continue to serve at sea and visit as many new overseas ports as possible, and to meet as many new people along the way.
“If I continue to work hard, hopefully the job I love will turn into a career for many years to come.”
Perhaps that career will have him return to the Philippines as since 2000, the navies have an annual Boarding and Maritime Security Training scenario, Exercise LUMBAS.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152733.