Putting training into practice on nine month deployment

Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), POIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Warramunga (F152)

Seaman Medic Benjamin Smith conducts a medical check-up in the medical centre in HMAS Warramunga. (photo: POIS Yuri Ramsey)
Seaman Medic Benjamin Smith conducts a medical check-up in the medical centre in HMAS Warramunga.
Dealing with simulated fire, flood and casualties is all part of the daily routine for Able Seaman Benjamin Smith.
 
As a Medic in the Royal Australian Navy, he has an important role in the primary health care of HMAS Warramunga’s ship’s company.
 
In the event of an emergency or casualty onboard, Able Seaman Smith would be called upon to provide extensive pre-hospital emergency care to patients before their situation is assessed for possible medical evacuation.
 
Able Seaman Smith, originally from Hobart, is one of a small team of medical professionals onboard the Anzac class frigate as the ship makes its way to the Middle East as part of a nine-month deployment as part of Operation MANITOU.
 
In order to get to this point, Able Seaman Smith and the rest of the crew underwent a series of extensive pre-deployment training exercises that he said was one of the highlights of his naval career.
 
“The pre-deployment work-up required the whole ship’s company to put in massive effort and to work long hours to prepare the ship for deployment,” he said.
 
“During these difficult weeks, the medical team were required to deal with a number of mass casualty scenarios, such as having up to 30 casualties spread throughout the ship, while dealing with numerous simulated medical emergencies.”
 
Able Seaman Smith’s efforts as part of the ship’s medical team have not gone unnoticed, with the 23-year-old receiving a Commanding Officer’s Commendation during the pre-deployment work-up.
 
He said he was excited to be a part of Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to maritime security in the Middle East region, which would be his first operational deployment since joining the Navy.
 
Navy medical sailors are trained to an extremely high standard, part of which involves studying for 78 weeks at the Army School of Health in Albury, New South Wales.
 
The course comprises parts of a Diploma of Nursing and a Diploma of Paramedical Science, as well as military-specific training.
 
Warramunga replaces HMAS Newcastle which is due to return to Australia in the coming weeks.
 
The deployment is part of the Australian Defence Force contribution to the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, promoting maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.