Middle East operations reinforce service ethos

Published on CPL Sebastian Beurich (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Bahrain

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Arunta (F151), Anzac Day

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Toby Pink is seen in the Quarter Deck of HMAS Arunta. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Toby Pink is seen in the Quarter Deck of HMAS Arunta.

Townsville’s Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Toby Pink has spent Anzac Day on operations this year as a member of HMAS Arunta’s ship’s company during her maritime security deployment to the Middle East.

As part of the ship’s extended Middle East deployment, the crew took the opportunity for some downtime at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, over Anzac Day.

The sailor was born in the United Kingdom but grew up in Australia and said the busy deployment reinforced the significance of the day.

“Anzac Day is a particularly special day for me, as it lets me reflect on my contribution to Australia,” he said.

He enlisted into the Navy in 2013 as an Air Warfare sailor.

“My primary role onboard the ship is to man the air picture console in the operations room,” he said.

“From there, I use the ship’s radars and other bits of equipment to track aircraft which are near the ship, and help stop any air threats.”

This is Able Seaman Pink’s first operational deployment and the first time he has sailed outside of Australian waters.

“I’ve been at sea to assist HMAS Canberra with the Landing Helicopter Dock’s first-of-class work up, and I’ve put a ship up on stilts for a refurbishment, but this is my first operational deployment,” he said.

“I joined HMAS Arunta two days before she put to sea for her seven week work-up exercise, so we definitely hit the ground running.

“Some of the places we’ve docked at during this deployment are places I never thought I would get the opportunity to go to.”

On his return to Australia later in the year, Able Seaman Pink said he is looking forward to catching up with mates he hasn’t seen in years.

“It’s been a bit more than two years since I was last in Queensland, so I’m looking forward to getting back there.”

Operation MANITOU is the Australian Defence Force contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

Australian ships operate under the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.