Toowoomba departs for sixth Middle East deployment

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), POIS James Whittle (photographer), LSIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base West, WA

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Toowoomba (F156)

Family members watch on as HMAS Toowoomba departs Fleet Base West, WA. (photo: POIS James Whittle)
Family members watch on as HMAS Toowoomba departs Fleet Base West, WA.

The Anzac Class frigate HMAS Toowoomba has departed her homeport of Fleet Base West in Rockingham, Western Australia for a six-month deployment to the Middle East.

Toowoomba has deployed as part of Operation MANITOU, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security in the Middle East Region.

While deployed, Toowoomba will play an important role in the multi-national Combined Maritime Force (CMF) that operates in the area, and will form an integral part of the 33-nation CMF in its mission to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

Toowoomba’s Commanding Officer, Commander Mitchell Livingstone, said his ship’s company was ready for the task ahead.

“Everyone in Toowoomba has worked very hard over the past 12 months to get to this high state of readiness,” Commander Livingstone said.

“This dedication to the job and overall professionalism gives me great confidence in our ability to rise to any occasion we face over the next six months.”

The youngest member of Toowoomba’s ship’s company, Seaman Communications and Information Systems Sailor Bethany Carmody, was farewelled from Fleet Base West by her supportive family. She said she was looking forward to the task ahead.

“I’m very excited to be deploying today on my first deployment on Operation MANITOU,” Seaman Carmody said.

“We are mission-ready and we have an awesome crew.

“I will miss my family over the next six months, however I’m very excited about the challenges and new experiences I’ll face and overcome during the deployment.”

Assistant Weapons Electrical Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Jessica Bartels, also deploying on her first operational deployment, said she too was looking forward to the challenges the mission would bring.

“I’m excited to be part of this deployment as we have trained all year for it and are ready to go,” Lieutenant Bartels said.

“Six months is a long time, but I am grateful to have a very supportive family at home to help me over the course of the deployment.”

Commander Livingstone also paid tribute to the families of Toowoomba’s ship’s company whose support, he said, is significant to the deployment.

“As we undertake this deployment it’s very important that we recognise the role played by our family who remain behind to keep things ticking over at home,” Commander Livingstone said.

“We couldn’t achieve our mission without their support and encouragement.”

This deployment is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Gulf region with the ship scheduled to return to Fleet Base West in July 2020.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20200131.