Family’s sacrifice in service to nation

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Andrew Thorpe (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Arunta (F151), Drug interdiction, Counter-piracy, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Genene Sanders in the Wardroom on HMAS Arunta. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Genene Sanders in the Wardroom on HMAS Arunta.

Many Australian Defence Force members are continuing a tradition of military service, but for one sailor in HMAS Arunta, recently returned from the Middle East, she is just one member of a family putting service before self.

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics – Support Operations Genene Sanders joined the Navy seven years ago and in that time has seen a lot of the world, which means means for her son in the Australian Army and husband in HMAS Waller, time together is precious.

She recently returned to Australia after Arunta’s nine-month deployment as part of Operation MANITOU, which is Australia’s contribution to counter terrorism, counter piracy, and narcotics interdiction to provide stability in the Middle East region.

“Being part of Operation MANITOU gave me an opportunity to experience very different cultures to what we’re used to in Australia,” she said.

As a Maritime Logistics – Support Operations sailor, Leading Seaman Sanders is in involved in varied activities onboard.

While her main duties involve providing VIP-level hospitality service, she also has a number of secondary roles.

“I am part of the Ship’s Medical Emergency Team which brings with it exciting challenges and situations,” she said.

Leading Seaman Sanders also assists the ship’s Canteen Manager with the daily running of the canteen – a facility that provides a great morale booster to the ship’s 191 sailors and officers.

She said despite the lengthy deployment, and Navy life in general, presenting a number of challenges, the benefits far outweighed the negatives as a member of the Australian Defence Force.

“The variety of work and the different places the Navy can take you can be extremely rewarding,” Leading Seaman Sanders said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a number of different places around the world, including Hawaii three times.

“But now that we’re back, I’m looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends in the house we purchased before I deployed.”