Army signaller excels in maritime operations

Department of Defence

When Corporal Samuel Smith, of the Army’s 1st Signal Regiment, found out he was deploying on Operation Manitou, he didn’t know what to expect.

But for the Army signaller, who hails from Queensland, the opportunity to deploy to the Middle East wasn’t one he was going to pass up.

“When I received the phone call asking if I was interested in the deployment, my first question was – what was an Army signaller going to do on a maritime operation?” Corporal Smith said.

But soon after arriving at the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Headquarters earlier this year, Corporal Smith discovered that working with the Navy wasn’t all that different to what he was used to back home.

“While we have different systems and equipment, it was the common skills, knowledge and training that I’ve built throughout my career that enabled me to slot into the team and start doing my job from the start,” he said.

Corporal Smith’s role at CMF sees him wear two hats. While initially deployed to fulfil the role of a communications specialist at Combined Task Force (CTF) 153, Corporal Smith’s knowledge and work ethic quickly had him identified as the assistant communications specialist for CMF Headquarters.

CTF 153’s mission focuses on international maritime security and capacity-building efforts in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, and Gulf of Aden, while the wider CMF Headquarters supports all five combined task forces.

Corporal Smith said the work varies from day to day.

“Sometimes it’s working with the staff throughout the headquarters on setting them up with their access and hardware, and other days, we support units at sea to troubleshoot issues,” he said.

Corporal Smith is excited to return home to his partner and family, and reflecting on the deployment said it has been an eye-opening experience.

“Working with the Navy and Air Force, as well as the other 43 nations that make up CMF has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m grateful for the experience,” he said.

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