After five and a half months on patrol, the 190 members of HMAS Sydney’s ship’s company were pleased to sail through Sydney Heads and return to their home port Garden Island, Sydney.
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer and Deputy Commander Surface Force, Captain Guy Holthouse were among the 180 or so family and friends on the wharf, to welcome the Adelaide Class Frigate home.
Sydney sailed at short notice in early April and was operationally employed in a border patrol role. While Operation RESOLUTE was the largest part of Sydney’s program, the ship’s company also honed their war fighting skills during exercises BERSAMA SHIELD and KAKADU.
One of the highlights of the time away for Lieutenant Commander Marc Beecroft was dominating the ‘free-play’ phase of Exercise KAKADU.
“Sydney led the Blue Force, comprising of ships from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Philippine Navy,” Lieutenant Commander Beecroft said.
“During the unscripted scenario, we identified and neutralised the red force threat, proving the capability of our weapon systems and our crew’s abilities.”
“We also had the chance to host a number of international observers, which gave us the chance to strengthen relationships with foreign Navy personnel,” Lieutenant Commander Beecroft said.
Another highlight was visiting the Pemulihan Dalam Community Centre in Lumut, Malaysia after Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD.
Leading Seaman Samantha Quinn was amongst a team of volunteers who attended the centre and spent time helping kids with special needs. She said it was a rewarding experience.
“We spent the day doing some maintenance work and garden repairs. It was great be able to lend a hand. The most rewarding part though was spending some time with the children that the community centre support,” Leading Seaman Quinn said.
“We also gathered donations at the gangway, and raised over $600 to help the needy.”
Commanding Officer Sydney, Commander Karl Brinckmann, said the deployment reflected what it means to serve as part of a working Navy.
“Our deployment has been a true reflection of a working Navy. We’ve spent five and a half months taking part in major exercises and Government directed operations,” Commander Brinckmann said.
“After so many months at sea, we are looking forward to spending some quality time with our loved ones, whose support has been so important to us, while we’ve been deployed.”
Over the coming weeks, Sydney will remain alongside conducting deployment preparations before she takes part in exercise TRITON SIM.