By Andrew Bujdegan and LSIS Bradley Darvill
HMAS Rankin has returned to HMAS Stirling following her recent nine-month deployment which Commander Submarine Force Captain Matt Buckley, described as “the longest single deployment for a Collins Class Submarine”.
CAPTION: Submariners haul in on berthing lines as HMAS Rankin comes along side Diamantina Pier, Fleet Base West, returning home after the submarine completed a nine month deployment
During her deployment, the submarine participated in Exercise PACIFIC REACH, the International Submarine Escape and Rescuse Exercise, operating out of South Korea.
Captain Matt Buckley, said that Rankin achieved many high points including: operating out of Fleet Base East for an extended four-month period; supporting Fleet Exercises like OCEAN MASTER; DIPEX (dipping exercise) with the new Seahawks MH60R and providing the broader fleet with visit and sea-ride opportunities.
“Rankin has achieved all key mission objectives, including a number of firsts for Navy. I am extremely proud of the efforts of Rankin’s CO and ship’s company and am very thankful for the enduring support of their family and friends”.
“This deployment underscores the ongoing success of our submarine enterprise and our capacity to deliver a potent national strategic deterrent capability,” CAPT Buckley said.
“This extended period of high-level activity has enabled the submarine to qualify numerous sailors and officers as submariners and provide the opportunity for on-the-job continuation training for many other,” he said.
Rankin’s role as one of the submarines deploying into the Indo-Pacific theatre in 2016 underscores a resurgent submarine force now comprising five boats in service.
Commanding Officer HMAS Rankin, CMDR Doug Theobald, said that the busy program and time away had been challenging for the crew and families.
“There have been trying times, as to be expected during long periods away from home, but the team jelled and performed exceptionally throughout,” CMDR Theobald said.
“A controlled and steady rotation of Rankin’s personnel has provided opportunity for respite as well as enabling members to spend some time with family especially over the Christmas period'” he said.
This approach contributed to the success of this deployment as well as assisting in maintaining high levels of morale.
First published in Navy Daily, 20 July 2016