Australian Navy personnel have been on operations in the Middle East almost constantly in the past three decades, and with the return of Anzac frigate, HMAS Warramunga, from her most recent deployment, it signals the completion of the 66th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy unit to the region since 1990.
The ship deployed in November 2017, and since then has seized and destroyed narcotics from 16 vessels totalling approximately 31.8 tonnes of hashish and approximately two tonnes of heroin, valued in excess of AUD $2.17 billion.
One of the team was Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Jake Collett, who was contributing to international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.
Warramunga was assigned to Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain and mainly conducted counter-terrorism and maritime security operations for Combined Task Force 150.
Able Seaman Collett worked in the construction industry as a carpenter for three years before taking the leap and undertaking initial and specialist training at the ‘cradle of the Navy’ HMAS Cerberus, in Victoria.
“Joining Navy was something I had wanted to pursue since I was in high school and I felt it was the right time to begin this career path,” he said.
“The training I received at Cerberus gave me the skills required to perform my role as a communications specialist onboard a fleet unit such as HMAS Warramunga.”
Communication and Information Systems sailors disseminate information internally and externally to the ship using strategic and tactical communications systems.
Able Seaman Collett said his role on operations included maintaining communications with the boarding teams on the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats during drug search and seizure operations, and when not performing that duty he was a bowman on the boats.
He previously deployed to Operation Resolute, which is the Australian Defence Force contribution to protect Australia's borders and offshore maritime interests.
“In 2016 I was involved in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise, in Hawaii and on Exercise Kakadu off the coast of Darwin and Exercise Bersama Lima held in the waters near Singapore,” he said.
“It’s been a busy, but rewarding posting, with a number of international exercises at the beginning, working up to an operation and finishing a successful deployment.”
For more information about the capabilities of HMAS Warramunga visit the Navy website.