Deployment proves relationships are everything

An excited toddler repeatedly asks, “Is my dad on that ship?”

CAPTIONLieutenant Rene Van Rooyen from HMAS Warramunga embraces her partner on the wharf of Fleet Base East, Sydney, on return from deployment.
 Story by Lieutenant Nicole Gallie. Photos by Able Seaman Lucinda Allanson.

Minutes later he’s scooped into his father’s arms, a happy reunion after 96 days away from home.

Family and friends crowded the wharf at Fleet Base East on April 29 to welcome HMAS Warramunga home after its regional presence deployment to India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.

Commanding Officer Warramunga Commander Jennifer Graham said the deployment was an important opportunity to strengthen multilateral maritime cooperation.

“There was lots of interaction with our friends and allies,” Commander Graham said.

“It was a very successful deployment, forging those relationships and demonstrating Australia’s interest in the region. “

Highlights included a two-day training activity, Noble Dingo, in the Indian Ocean. In February, Warramunga joined the United States’ Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halseyand Japan’s Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami.

“Relationships are everything,” Commander Graham said.

“For Australia, from a strategic perspective, we’re out in the region. We’re interoperating. We’re demonstrating to all those who are watching that we can and do work with other navies.”

But it was the relationships closer to home that brought a smile to the ship’s company.

Leading Seaman Ty Wilkinson was delighted to see his three children, aged two, four and seven, waiting on the wharf.

“It’s emotional but it’s good to be home. And when they’re waving back, it’s everything,” he said.

Commander Graham also acknowledged the commitment required to achieve the Navy’s strategic objectives.

“Going away from our family for three months is a significant sacrifice for our team,” he said.

“It makes coming home even more special. Especially coming into Sydney Harbour. It was an absolute cracker of a day to sail through the heads.”

CAPTIONFamily and friends await the return of HMAS Warramunga to her home port of Fleet Base East in Sydney, following the completion of a three-month deployment.


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