Dads serving in HMAS Sydney on Exercise KAKADU 2014 this weekend had their families top of mind as they sailed from Darwin for a second week of high-end warfare with the fictional 'Blue Force' and 'Red Force' battling it out at sea over pretend disputed territory.
HMAS Sydney’s embarked crew of around 220 sailors and officers are at sea off the coast of Darwin leading KAKADU’s ‘Blue Force’ (Task Group 628.1), which also consists of the Japanese destroyer JS Hatakaze and the Philippine frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz during the large maritime warfare exercise.
Chief Petty Officer Steve Arnott has two children, Indiana and Alex, with another on the way.
“We’re really busy out here, but my family is always in the back of my mind.
“I know they’re thinking of me on Father’s Day, and I look forward to seeing them back in Cairns, soon,” Chief Petty Officer Arnott said.
Able Seaman Luke McKinnon hails from Sydney.
“I miss my wife, Krystal and my three boys, Jaykob, Bailey and Hayden.
“I miss them all, and can’t wait to get home,” Able Seaman McKinnon said.
From Warnbro in Western Australia, Chief Petty Officer Paul Wilcox misses his son and daughter, and his grandchildren.
“One of the hardest things about this job is missing important dates like a grandchild’s birthday, and of course Father’s Day.
“I’ll be thinking of my family on Father’s Day, and know they’ll be thinking of me. I look forward to seeing them all back in Western Australia soon,” Chief Petty Officer Wilcox said.
After completing KAKADU, Sydney will begin her trip back to her homeport of Sydney, completing a five month deployment in northern Australia and South East Asia.
Exercise KAKADU is the largest Australian naval warfare exercise of 2014, with 15 countries participating in a variety of high end warfare exercises, including anti-submarine, surface warfare and air defence serials.
Exercise KAKADU 2014 is occurring from 25 August - 12 September.