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Timothy Hall - Gympie

When Timothy Hall graduated from Gympie's James Nash State High School in 2004, he did not expect he would leave his hometown to join the Navy and travel the world.

A 30-year-old Petty Officer (PO) in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), he is currently deployed to Bahrain in support of Operation Manitou.

Unlike his previous deployment to the Middle East region, he is not aboard an Australian warship but based at the US Navy headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.

PO Hall provides ICT support to the Maritime Operations Support Group (MOSG), which contributes to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and other task forces.

CMF is comprised of 32 nations focussed on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.

"I am the sole Australian ICT support member deployed to Bahrain responsible for administering and maintaining national ICT systems in location," PO Hall said.

"I also provide communications support to the 13 Australian personnel who primarily make up MOSG and I facilitate communications with the ship."

The "ship" is HMAS Newcastle, the RAN guided missile frigate currently patrolling Middle Eastern waters under CMF's Combined Task Force 150 for counter terrorism.

While the bulk of PO Hall's time is spent on fault-finding and other standard ICT tasks, he has contributed to a multi-national project to enhance Newcastle's capability.

"I am currently attempting to get a new ICT system installed on the ship to communicate with international partners contributing to CMF's 32-nation partnership.

"This has required a lot of liaison with the many different stakeholders at the higher levels within CMF as well as Australia's Middle East region headquarters and HMAS Newcastle itself."

Working within the CMF headquarters, PO Hall has had some unique opportunities to develop professionally, but like a true sailor, he looks fondly back on his time at sea.

"The last time I was in the region was on HMAS Anzac in 2012/13 as part of Operation Slipper.

"I deployed at the perfect time, just after my promotion course and spending time at sea with an amazing crew and group of senior sailors made a fantastic experience."

In addition to the friendships made, his time at sea helped prepare him for his current role.

"It gave me an understanding of the Middle East region, of the reporting processes and how we fit into the bigger picture."

In addition to Bahrain, PO Hall’s Navy career has taken him to Hawaii, China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, Guam as well as other Middle Eastern countries.

PO Hall joined the Navy in 2005 for an adventure – something he has definitely achieved.

With only a few weeks left until the end of his deployment, PO Hall will miss his Australian and coalition colleagues, the weekly cross-fit sessions and Thursday nights in the Officer’s mess.

In September, he will return to his family in Gympie before starting a new posting at the Defence Force School of Signals detachment in Sydney where he will pass on his operational experience.