Originally from Grafton on the north coast of New South Wales, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Lloyd McKean is about to travel to the other side of the world in the Australian warship HMAS Melbourne.
Melbourne will leave her home port of Fleet Base East in Sydney on Sunday, to embark on a six month deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) where she’ll join the international fight against terrorism as part of Operation SLIPPER.
When she arrives in the region, the Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigate will conduct maritime security patrols to counter terrorism, smuggling and piracy in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
Able Seaman McKean and his 240 shipmates are busy packing their bags and making final preparations to set off on the important mission.
For the Grafton High School graduate, the deployment will involve the added challenge of feeding the ship’s large crew – three meals a day, seven days a week. He’s well prepared, thanks to the extensive training he received after joining the Navy in 2011.
After 11 weeks of recruit training at HMAS Cerberus in Westernport Bay, Victoria, AB McKean completed 22 weeks of cookery training at TAFE, and finally 2 weeks of service specific cookery training. Then, he entered the fleet proper to continue his training as a Chef.
On a daily basis, his job will include preparing and serving nutritious meals in the ship’s galley, throughout the day and night, including ‘mid-nighters’ to feed those who keep watches in the dark hours.
Able Seaman McKean is also a member of the Ship's Medical Emergency Team (SMET) and has completed an advanced first aid course, enabling him assist in the case of a medical emergency, either at action stations or whenever a casualty situation occurs.
Able Seaman McKean joined the Royal Australian Navy because he wanted to try something different and had an interest in travel. He was also influenced by the positive experiences of his Mother and Father who served 11 and 21 years in the service respectively.
“They had fulfilling careers so the choice was an easy one. I haven’t looked back since joining the Navy,” Able Seaman McKean said.
The Grafton native has previously deployed on Operation Resolute to protect Australia’s northern maritime borders. He has fond memories of his time in Armidale Class Patrol Boats.
“Some of the stand out moments of my career occurred at that time, including playing touch football on tropical Ashmore Island as the sun set, and watching Green Sea Turtles lay eggs in the Island by moonlight,” he said.
This will be Able Seaman McKean’s first deployment to the MEAO. For his service in the region, he’ll earn the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) and the Afghanistan campaign medal. For his service on Operation RESOLUTE he has earned the Operational Service Medal – Border Protection.
Able Seaman McKean said he will look forward to returning to the picturesque city of Sydney after six months away, and to being reunited with family and friends after what is sure to be a long and exhausting operational deployment.