From Katanning to the Middle East

Published on MAJ Bradley Richardson (author), LSIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

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

Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Benjamin Jenkins checks stock levels in the store room onboard HMAS Toowoomba. (photo: LSIS Richard Cordell)
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Benjamin Jenkins checks stock levels in the store room onboard HMAS Toowoomba.

From the small town of Katanning in Western Australia to interdicting illegal drugs on board HMAS Toowoomba in the Arabian Sea, there is no challenge too big or small for 26 year old local Benjamin Jenkins.

Joining the Royal Australian Navy in 2014 as a Maritime Logistics and Supply Chain Sailor, Leading Seaman Jenkins is currently deployed to the Middle East Region on Operation MANITOU, and is responsible for maintaining the ships inventory.

“I work in a small supply team and am responsible for all of the items that the ship requires on board.

“These items include everything from medical stores to ammunition.”

Benjamin also has an auxiliary role as a member of HMAS Toowoomba’s boarding party and in mid-March 2020 Toowoomba seized over three tonnes of illegal narcotics.

“I was fortunate enough to be a part of a vessel interdiction and search team.

“The search took most of the day and was exhausting in the heat but it was a great result.

“The team found the illegal drugs carefully hidden throughout the vessel and it’s amazing to be a part of this and know that we stopped these drugs from being distributed somewhere in the world.”

Benjamin is humbled to put on his uniform every morning and knows his family are proud of what he does.

Grandson of long time Katanning residents John Jenkins and Margaret Ennis, Benjamin is looking forward to returning back to the small town when his operational tour ends.

“My grandparents have been painting beautiful murals around town, such as the laneway behind the Co-op and the wool shed.

“They have really brightened up the town so I can’t wait to go home and see what new pieces have popped up since my last visit to Katanning.”

Benjamin conducted his initial recruit and logistical training at HMAS Cerberus in Melbourne.