Sailor provides critical communications links

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Mark Doran (author and photographer)

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Communications and Information Systems Matthew Tymrakiewicz, of HMAS Darwin, prepares for a patrol in the Middle East region from the Naval Support Activity base in Manama, Bahrain, during Operation Manitou. (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Communications and Information Systems Matthew Tymrakiewicz, of HMAS Darwin, prepares for a patrol in the Middle East region from the Naval Support Activity base in Manama, Bahrain, during Operation Manitou.

In the dynamic workplace of an Australian warship at sea, Leading Seaman Communication and Information Systems Matthew Tymrakiewicz is a gatekeeper of HMAS Darwin’s essential links with the outside world.

Darwin is currently deployed as part of the Australian Defence Force contribution to support international efforts in promoting maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

Under Operation MANITOU the ship contributes to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, a 31-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.

Leading Seaman Tymrakiewicz operates the ship's telecommunications systems, including automated networks, data links and satellite systems, to ensure contact between ships at sea and bases ashore.

Leading Seaman Tymrakiewicz is a former Townsville resident, studying at both Ignatius Park and James Cook University.

“Accounting is not for everybody, so I decided to join the military in 2006 and see the world,” he said.
 
“I have always been interested in computers and information technology, which meant I was well suited to my chosen trade.”
 
Navy has conducted maritime security operations in the Middle East region since 1990. 
 
Leading Seaman Tymrakiewicz last deployed to the region in 2010-11 in HMAS Parramatta during Operation SLIPPER.
 
“We were conducting counter piracy patrols in the Red Sea with Combined Task Force 151,” he said.
 
“Now the main task for Darwin is to support Combined Task Force 150 in maritime security and counter terrorism operations.
 
“Our job will be to intercept and dispose of illegal drugs that provide funding for terrorist organisations.
Combined Task Force 150's area of operations spans more than two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
 
Darwin
 joined the French Carrier Strike Group Charles de Gaulle from 23-25 February to provide escort, force protection support and combined training operations in the Gulf of Oman.
 
The Charles de Gaulle battlegroup is deployed to the Gulf to participate in operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq as part of US Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 50.
 
Leading Seaman Tymrakiewicz said Darwin travelled through the South China Sea and South East Asia on the way to the Middle East and visited Thailand, Indonesia and India during the journey.
 
“We have a fantastic crew on Darwin and we spent many months preparing for this mission since I joined the ship in March last year.
 
“During our Mission Readiness Exercise we focused on boarding party tactics and force protection procedures to ensure the ship’s company know how to respond to an incident.”
 
Leading Seaman Tymrakiewicz's family still lived in Townsville and he usually made it home at least once a year.
 
“I have been lucky to spend my time on frigates based in Sydney, which means we spend a lot of time away,” he said.
 
“It can be a challenge to leave the family and friends behind, but I love the travel.”