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Patrick Velu - Gold Coast

The Gold Coast's Patrick Velu has spent Anzac Day in the Middle East this year on operational deployment onboard Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Arunta.

As part of her longest Middle East deployment, HMAS Arunta and her crew are taking the opportunity for some downtime at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain.

Naval officer Lieutenant (LEUT) Velu, 29, is posted to HMAS Arunta while the ship is deployed on Operation MANITOU.

LEUT Velu commissioned into the Navy in 2007 as a Maritime Warfare Officer and said he was looking forward to commemorating Anzac Day while on active operations.

"Anzac Day is a pretty important day for anyone with a connection to the Australian Defence Force," he said.

"Commemorating the day while deployed on operations makes it even more special for all of us."

LEUT Velu said his primary role onboard the ship is as an Officer-of-the-Watch.

"That means when I'm at the helm, I'm directly responsible to the ship's Commanding Officer for making sure it's safe," he said.

This is LEUT Velu's second operational deployment but he has travelled around the world on exercises.

He said the most exciting part of his job is seeing part of the world he wouldn't get to see otherwise.

"I was on HMAS Sydney when she sailed around the world on exercise Northern Trident in 2009 and HMAS Manoora when she sailed to New Caledonia for exercise Croix du Sud in 2010," he said.

"I've also been fortunate to visit Ashmore Reef and Christmas Island.

"Both are Australian territories which very few Australia's get to see and experience their natural beauty."

On his return to Australia later in the year, LEUT Velu said he is looking forward to taking full advantage of the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches.

"Growing up on the Gold Coast was amazing," he said.

"The theme parks were probably the best thing – my parents bought me a season pass to Dreamworld and I went on the Tower of Terror so many times that it stopped being terrifying."

Operation MANITOU is the ADF contribution to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment in the Middle East region.

There are over 1700 ADF personnel deployed on operations ACCORDION, OKRA, HIGHROAD and MANITOU over Anzac Day this year.