By Lieutenant Nancy Cotton
After almost three months at sea on a regional presence deployment through the Pacific, HMAS Canberra is heading back to her home port in Sydney.
In June, HMA Ships Canberra, Warramunga and Supply set sail on the regional presence deployment.
Canberra sailed from Townsville with embarked forces from the Australian Army, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga and the Sri Lankan Marines to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 (RIMPAC).
During the transit to Hawaii, the HMA Ships sailed in formation with vessels from the United States and Japan during Exercise Noble Partners, enabling opportunities for interoperability between the three nations.
Sailing into Pearl Harbor on June 27, Canberra joined Warramunga and Supply and 25 other nations taking part in RIMPAC, the world’s largest biennial international maritime exercise.
The tactical sea phase of RIMPAC provided an opportunity for two United States MV-22B Osprey Aircraft and their crews to embark in an Australian Amphibious Ship.
This marked the first time the MV-22B aircraft was embarked for an enduring period of time, a milestone for the Australian amphibious capability and the landing helicopter dock.
Commanding Officer Canberra Captain Jace Hutchison also highlighted the importance of international military personnel embarking on Canberra.
“We also integrated medical specialists from New Zealand and the United States to work in our hospital, providing important interoperability exercises for the medical community,” Captain Hutchison said.
On completion of the three-week RIMPAC sea phase Canberra sailed back into Pearl Harbor for a second port visit, giving the ship’s company time for respite to explore the stunning island of Hawaii before continuing on with their deployment.
Canberra and Warramunga departed Pearl Harbor to participate in Operation Render Safe working together on-station, off Nauru, where a Royal Solomon Islands Police Force explosive ordnance disposal officer joined specialist ADF members to dispose of World War 2-era unexploded ordnance.
Canberra provided a ‘Role 2 Enhanced’ hospital capability with its embarked Maritime Operation Health Unit, working with Warramunga’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to deliver aeromedical evacuation support to the disposal teams in Nauru, if required.
On completion of the operation, Warramunga detached from the task group after 10 weeks sailing in company, members from both vessels lined the decks for a ‘Formation Foxtrot’ waving as Warramunga steamed past.
Canberra returned to Townsville on August 25 where the Australian Army embarked forces element returned to their home base of Queensland before continuing the transit to Fleet Base East.
Captain Hutchison said it was wonderful to return back to Australia after a long three months on deployment.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed our time away but there is nothing like returning to home shores,” Captain Hutchison said.
“It will be fantastic to see all the families and loved ones on the wharf – their support and encouragement really enables us to go to go to sea and do our job.”
Canberra returns to her home port of Fleet Base East, Sydney in early September and will be welcomed by over 500 loved ones on the wharf.
These deployments demonstrate Australia’s commitment and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region which are vital to Australia’s long-term security and prosperity.
This article was published by the Australian Department of Defence on August 25, 2022.
Featured Photo: United States Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey performs deck landings on board Canberra during RIMPAC. Photo: Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall
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