From the Glasshouse Mountains to the Middle East

Published on CPL Dan Pinhorn and FLTLT Dion Isaacson (author)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Ballarat (F155)

LSPTI Jacob Machen on board HMAS Ballarat. (photo: CPL Dan Pinhorn)
LSPTI Jacob Machen on board HMAS Ballarat.

Leading Seaman Jacob Machen was always active growing up in the Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland - his weekends were full of sports.

Almost a decade later, he is now a physical training instructor (PTI) in the Royal Australian Navy and was most recently deployed on board HMAS Ballarat.

“I chose the Navy as I have always been captivated by the water; I love the water, I love swimming and surfing,” Leading Seaman Machen said.

“I originally joined the Navy as a boatswain mate, then they called for people interested in being a PTI, and I literally ran with it.”

LSPTI Jacob Machen on board HMAS Ballarat.

LSPTI Jacob Machen on board HMAS Ballarat.

As a PTI deployed in board Ballarat, he ran six physical training sessions per day, including weight training, metabolic conditioning, and a stretch and release program. 

“My goal is to promote physical health - also to increase and maintain people’s resilience, character and mental wellbeing through physical training,” he said.

Ballarat recently returned to Australia after nearly nine months deployed to the Middle East on Operation MANITOU, where it supported international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the region.

While deployed, Ballarat seized more than a billion dollars’ worth of illegal narcotics, nearly half a million rounds of small-arms ammunition and 697 bags of chemical fertiliser, which had a potential use in the manufacture of improvised explosives.

“Like most sailors, I have an secondary role, and mine is as a coxswain on one of Ballarat’s Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats,” Leading Seaman Machen said.

“When required, we launch the boat with a boarding party embarked, then drive out to a vessel of interest and the boarding party will disembark and do their thing.”

But his first love is working as a PTI.

“I find it really rewarding when someone stops me as I walk through the ship to say that my motivation has helped them with weight loss or I have encouraged them to attend PT more regularly,” he said.

Leading Seaman Machen was rewarded for his efforts in 2018 when he received an Australia Day Medallion.

The medallion was awarded for his commitment to the ship’s company and his professionalism, efforts and passion.