Larrakia's secret weapon

Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Location(s): Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN joins HMAS Larrakia's ship's company for a friendly game of volleyball with the Vietnam Peoples Navy Technical College near Ho Chi Minh City. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN joins HMAS Larrakia's ship's company for a friendly game of volleyball with the Vietnam Peoples Navy Technical College near Ho Chi Minh City.

It wasn’t exactly the Olympic Games but for the HMAS Larrakia volleyball team it certainly felt like a major sporting event.

Getting off the bus at the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) Technical College just outside Ho Chi Minh City, the Australian team couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the 200 or so spectators lining the court.

The Vietnam Navy Technical College volleyball team welcome the Royal Australian Navy team, comprising crew from Attack Four (embarked in HMAS Larrakia) and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN before a friendly game of volleyball.

The Vietnam Navy Technical College volleyball team welcome the Royal Australian Navy team, comprising crew from Attack Four (embarked in HMAS Larrakia) and Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN before a friendly game of volleyball.

Australian team captain Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Mark Verhoeven said despite the significant home support for the VPN, the team from Larrakia was quietly confident.

“We knew we had an ace up our sleeve,” he said.

“And that ace came in the form of Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett and volleyball gun.”

Unfortunately for the Australians, the VPN team made the most of the hometown advantage and support, running out winners 25-17.

Following the competitive game, the teams combined and played a further two matches, both of which finished with extremely close scorelines.

HMAS Larrakia (Attack Four embarked) and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN (centre rear) with the Vietnam Navy Technical College side following a friendly game of volleyball near Ho Chi Minh City.

HMAS Larrakia (Attack Four embarked) and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO, CSC, RAN (centre rear) with the Vietnam Navy Technical College side following a friendly game of volleyball near Ho Chi Minh City.

Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven said the Australian team was grateful for the invitation to participate and hoped the Royal Australian Navy could return the favour one day.

“I just know that on home soil it will be a whole new ball game,” he said.

Larrakia is almost halfway through a six-week SE Asian deployment which will see her take part in Exercise LUMBAS 2014 and the 70th commemoration of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She currently has 'Attack Four' embarked as her crew.