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Glenn Tayler - Warrnambool

A Warrnambool boy's love of the ocean has led to a diverse career in seas far from home.

Leading Seaman (LS) Electronics Technician Glenn Tayler is deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region on Operation Manitou, Australia's contribution to the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

The CMF undertakes patrols to intercept the trafficking of drugs that help fund international terrorism.

In his normal role as a fire controller and maintainer of the Mark 92 Fire Control System, LS Tayler spends his watches at a console in the warship's operation room detecting targets and preparing for action.

The Mark 92 controls Melbourne's 76mm gun, Harpoon anti-ship missile and the Standard Missile 2 and the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) air defence systems.

LS Tayler travelled to the United States for 12 months in 2013 for his Mark 92 Fire Control System course held in San Diego at the 42nd Street Naval Base.

The US-built medium-range anti-aircraft missile and gun fire control system assigns targets via the ship's air-search and surface-search radars or from the Mark 92's own search radar capabilities.

As the firepower of Melbourne is a massive overmatch for small fishing vessels, LS Tayler said his main role on his deployment was as member of the boarding parties who conducted flag verification or illegal drug searches of suspect boats in the Arabian Gulf and northern Indian Ocean.

"I have never experienced incredible heat and humidity like this before, he said.

"However, seeing what Navy does on Operation Manitou allows me to understand the bigger picture of how we stop illegal drugs hitting our streets.

"It's very rewarding.

"I hope we can put as much of a dent in what we call "the smack track" or the "hash highway" as we can and deny funds to terrorists.

"This operation has helped create a fantastic bond within Melbourne's crew and we are proud of the work we are doing."

LS Tayler said he took a year off when he finished studying at Emmanuelle College in Warrnambool to hang-out on the beach and go surfing and diving.

"I decided I wanted more adventure and a trade so I joined the Navy in 2007," he said.

"My nine-years as a sailor have gone by so quickly and I will unfortunately miss out on my 10-year school reunion while on this deployment.

"I enjoy being at sea as part of the Fleet and Melbourne is my favourite ship.

"It's also fantastic to be getting to see a bit of action with the boarding parties, rather than just working on the technical side in the operations room."

LS Tayler said during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2012 in Hawaii he was given the rare opportunity to witness the firing of the ship's ESSM.

He also saw how fellow sailors band together when a comrade is in trouble.

"After a South-East Asia tour with HMAS Darwin I visited Japan and while we were embedded with the US Navy's 7th Fleet," he said.

"While at sea I became ill with appendicitis during a 45-day-patrol in the South China Sea.

"I was flown to the hospital aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and had my appendix removed.

"The aeromedical evacuation then became more of friendly visit to a host nation as the US sailors were stoked to have me aboard.

"We ended-up playing American football on the flight-deck."