Landing craft crew prepare for goodbye

Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Tarakan (II), HMAS Labuan (II), HMAS Brunei

From left, Able Seaman Jacob Morel, Leading Seaman Gordon Spooner and Seaman Christopher Hall enjoy a hearty breakfast inside HMAS Brunei's Junior Sailors cafe. (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
From left, Able Seaman Jacob Morel, Leading Seaman Gordon Spooner and Seaman Christopher Hall enjoy a hearty breakfast inside HMAS Brunei's Junior Sailors cafe.

As the last of the Royal Australian Navy fleet of Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) vessels prepare to be decommissioned this November in Cairns, Leading Seaman Gordon Spooner shares his first-hand knowledge of the important amphibious capability that the vessels have provided to the Navy.

Currently posted to HMAS Brunei, Leading Seaman Spooner has undertaken a South West Pacific deployment on HMAS Labuan, a Pacific Partnership deployment and a variety of other exercises during his time in the long-serving workhorses.

"Visiting interesting places like Port Vila in Vanuatu stands out as a highlight of the 2009 South West Pacific deployment.

“The most memorable thing about my time in LCHs was definitely having the opportunity to help Indonesian people with medical supplies during Pacific Partnership 2011,” Leading Seaman Spooner said.

HMA Ships Brunei, Labuan and Tarakan are about to pull the ensign down on over four decades of service to the nation.

"Having served on LCHs for almost six years, it will be a sad day when they decommission.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to have served on them, and am proud to be part of the decommissioning crew because they have a long and rich history,” Leading Seaman Spooner said.

Leading Seaman Spooner’s next posting will be to a Cairns-based patrol boat crew where he looks forward to a new challenge.

The Landing Craft have provided nearly 40 years of essential service to communities in Australia and the Pacific.  Their versatility as a medium sea lift vessel provided much of the logistics support to Australian Defence Force operations in Bougainville, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

They also supported Operation RESOLUTE and in Australia’s time of need, were deployed to help in the aftermath of Cyclones Yasi and Tracy.

Seaman Jamie Dibble (left) serves up some breakfast to leading Seaman Gordon Spooner inside HMAS Brunei's Galley.

Seaman Jamie Dibble (left) serves up some breakfast to leading Seaman Gordon Spooner inside HMAS Brunei's Galley.

Additional imagery is available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142072