Deployment proves relationships are everything

Department of Defence

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

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 Halsey and Japan’s Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami.

‘It’s emotional but it’s good to be home. And when they’re waving back, it’s everything.’

“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.”

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