In her 27th year of faithful service, HMAS Melbourne has completed her final overseas deployment, returning last week to her home port of Sydney after a successful mission.
As the ship approaches the end of her career, a number of young sailors are at the start of theirs. The final mission off the Australian station for a mainstay of the Australian fleet still achieved a number of firsts.
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Operations Bethany East, Seaman Marine Technician Jason Sneath, Seaman Marine Technician Jack Everett and Seaman Electronic Warfare Brady Miller, were on their first overseas deployment and relished the opportunities these trips present.
“We are lucky to have had such an extensive trip early in our careers,” Seaman Everett said.
“We had lots of experiences that you can only get when you’re on a large warship.”
Melbourne’s duties across the North West Pacific and East Asia ranged from diplomatic engagements, attending China’s International Fleet Review, to high-end multi-national exercises and operations.
Melbourne continued her strong tradition of representing Australia and its interests on the global stage, visiting China, Japan and Guam over the last two months. Able Seaman East said it was an eye-opening experience.
“Seeing other parts of the world really makes you appreciate where you’re from,” Able Seaman East said.
“We’re all proud to have played our part in taking our ship so far from home and demonstrating what Australia can do.”
For Seaman Sneath, the highlight of the deployment was showing off Melbourne’s sporting prowess. The sports competition held as part of the Chinese International Fleet Review was an opportunity for less formal international relations.
“It was exciting to play against Russians, Chinese, Malaysians and get some good wins.
“It’s exciting when so many sailors from around the world come together and we get to show what we’re made of,” Seaman Sneath said.
Melbourne now has a busy domestic program before being decommissioned later in the year to make way for Navy’s future capabilities.