The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, has visited HMAS Choules for the first time, while in the Northern Territory during, Exercise TALISMAN SABRE.
Chief Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, who accompanied the Prime Minister, said the visit provided Mr Abbott with an opportunity to witness firsthand Choules’ amphibious capabilities.
“This was a great chance to show the Prime Minister HMAS Choules performing in a realistic operational environment by taking on a central role in the Australian Defence Force’s amphibious contribution to the exercise,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.
Commanding Officer Choules Commander Chris Aulmann was especially pleased the Prime Minister had requested to meet with his crew.
“The Prime Minister specifically asked to meet informally with ship’s company so he could talk freely and thank them for their contribution,” Commander Aulmann said.
One of those to meet the Prime Minister was Seaman Communication and Information Systems Sam Clarke, who said Mr Abbott seemed genuinely interested in life at sea and asked several questions about living and working onboard for extended periods.
“He obviously knew a lot about Choules' recent operations and personally thanked us for our efforts over the past nine months,” Seaman Clarke said.
Commander Aulmann said the visit had been great for the crew’s morale as they had worked hard to prepare for the exercise and were thrilled to receive positive feedback.
“A visit from the Prime Minister is a very special event,” Commander Aulmann said.