Third time around the buoy

Published on FLTLT Chloe Stevenson (author), LSIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU, HMAS Toowoomba (F156)

Lieutenant Stuart Francis keeps an eye on the tactical picture in the operations room onboard HMAS Toowoomba as the ship patrols the Gulf of Oman in support of the International Maritime Security Construct. (photo: LSIS Richard Cordell)
Lieutenant Stuart Francis keeps an eye on the tactical picture in the operations room onboard HMAS Toowoomba as the ship patrols the Gulf of Oman in support of the International Maritime Security Construct.

Adelaide’s Stuart Francis grew up hearing about adventures on the high seas from his father, grandfather and uncles. Now he is creating his own experiences.

Lieutenant Francis is a Principal Warfare Officer - Air in HMAS Toowoomba, deployed to the Middle East region on Operation MANITOU.

“As part of my duties I direct the conduct of anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare to keep the ship safe,” Lieutenant Francis said.

“I’m also the Command Warfare representative for twelve hours of each day to help ensure the ship achieves her mission here in the Middle East.”

Lieutenant Francis says he is very proud to be third generation Navy and serving on an operational deployment.

“My father Andrew ‘Connie’ Francis was a Chief Petty Officer Boatswain’s Mate and my grandfather Noel Francis was a Chief Carpenter.

“My uncle Iain Bullen was a Leading Seaman Medic and uncle Raymond ‘Max’ Francis was a Petty Officer Stoker,” he said.

One of Toowoomba’s operational achievements so far has been the seizure of a significant amount of narcotics in the Gulf of Aden.

“Being on-watch as part of the command element during the seizure of over 3000 kilograms of narcotics, including hashish and heroin, was certainly a career highlight,” Lieutenant Francis said.

“It was really rewarding making sure the processes ran smoothly,” he added.

HMAS Toowoomba is providing support to the International Maritime Security Construct and the Combined Maritime Force’s Combined Task Force 150 as part of the ADF’s contribution to efforts to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

This is the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy unit in the Middle East since 1990.