20-year-old Chris Fairley of the Melbourne suburb of Ringwod feels right at home despite being at sea. Able Seaman Marine Technician Chris Fairley, is a proud member of the Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) HMAS Melbourne, and along with over 230 of his shipmates, is on deployment in the war against terrorism to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO). In August Melbourne relieved her sister ship, HMAS Newcastle in the area of operations to undertake maritime security patrols in support of OPERATION SLIPPER.
Chris attended Norwood Secondary College and enjoyed Economics, Legal Studies and Systems engineering; the latter standing him in good stead for his career choice in the Australian Defence Force. As a Marine Engineering technical sailor, his work centre on board deals with repairs to the ship's hull, engineering watch-keeping in the Central Control Station and conducting rounds on all running plant and machinery.
Prior to joining the Navy, Chris was a member of the Australian Naval Cadets, belonging to Training Ship Melbourne. Military service runs in his family as his father served in the Royal Air Force as did both his father's parents. With an overwhelming desire to serve his country, and a keenness to learn a trade and in turn develop new skills, Chris joined the Navy in January 2011. This is Chris' first full trip to the Middle East, but he did sail HMAS Melbourne back from its last port visit of this same deployment, last year.
Upon returning to Australia Chris is looking forward to catching up with family and friends and taking a deserved holiday after what is sure to be a rewarding operational deployment.