A south-western Sydney sailor will spend Anzac Day far from home while deployed on counter-terrorism patrols in the Middle East region aboard HMAS Darwin.
Able Seaman (AB) Boatswain's Mate Troy Haydon from Picnic Point loves his job and is proud to serve his country, just like both his grandfathers did during World War II.
The former East Hills Boys High School student is serving on Operation Manitou, which is the ADF's contribution to international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.
AB Haydon said one grandfather was in the Air Force, while the other was a soldier in the Australian Army.
"They gave me the inspiration to enlist and forged my respect for our Anzac Day traditions," he said.
"Both my grandfathers died when I was young, but I was always taken to memorial ceremonies and wore their medals on my chest.
"Except for when I was in training at HMAS Cerberus in 2009 or when I was deployed on Operation Slipper with Darwin, I have not missed an Anzac Day ceremony in Sydney since I was three years old."
Darwin's primary goal on Operation Manitou is to contribute to the Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.
AB Haydon has been posted to Darwin for the past three years and said his duties included force protection, upper-deck maintenance, small boat handling, watch-keeping and ceremonial tasks.
"As a close-range weapon specialist I maintain and operate weapons such as the Mini-Typhoon gun system, the .50cal heavy machine gun, F88 Austeyr rifle, F89 machinegun, 9mm pistol and the 870P shotgun," he said.
"Darwin is a great warship and has a history to be proud of.
"The crew is amazing, one of the best I have worked with, everyone from the different departments get along and support each other.
"The best thing about Navy is the mates I've made and the travelling I've done."
Darwin is predominately tasked to support Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) which undertakes maritime security patrols to combat terrorism, including the interception of vessels carrying illicit cargoes that help fund international terrorist activities.
CTF 150's area of operations spans more than two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.
AB Haydon served on HMAS Tobruk during two rotations of Operation Resolute, protecting Australia's borders, but after seeing reports of the illicit smuggling activity in the Middle East, he said it also meant a lot to be a part of Operation Manitou.
"We are making a difference," he said.
"We are helping keep drugs off our streets and my family is very proud of the work we are doing.
"I am missing my partner Karla as well as my mother Sandy and brother Aaron who always send me their love and support, but the mateship and camaraderie aboard Darwin is fantastic.
"It makes being deployed for such a long time easier."
Including this rotation, Darwin has deployed to the Middle East seven times between 1990 and 2016 as part of operations Damask, Slipper and Manitou.