As the clock struck the 11th hour of the 11th day of November this year, HMAS Anzac III was sailing home across the Great Australian Bight after completing a challenging 12 week maintenance period away from her home port.
Together with colleagues across the Australian Defence Force, they observed a minute’s silence to remember the deeds and sacrifices of those who came before them.
Maintenance and training are not typically the subject of glorious military legend, but they are the foundation of all materiel and personnel readiness that underpins the legacy of military actions past and present day capability.
For Anzac, facilities at Henderson, in Western Australia provided the location for the Intermediate Maintenance Period.
More than 4,000 hours of maintenance were conducted, bringing together the skills and knowledge of Anzac’s personnel and Australia’s Defence industry. The technical departments engaged hundreds of contractors and Navy subject matter experts from Fleet Support Unit, making the ship a busy hive of activity, frequently 24 hours a day.
While in the West, Anzac engaged with the local community; the ship’s mountain biking team competing in Albany’s annual Southern MTB mountain bike race, as well as the Weapons Electrical department’s cricket team, ‘Rounds Down Range,’ competing in a local cricket competition.
Following a successful basin trial, where the ship’s propulsion system is hydrodynamically tested, Anzac personnel conducted a day of adventure training throughout Fremantle. It was an opportunity for ship’s company to be outdoors, away from the ship and work together in small cross departmental and cross rank teams to solve a variety of challenges.
The day was a resounding success, with friendly competition and a renewed sense of camaraderie.
Following a fast cruise, which is a simulated underway period that prepares the crew for life at sea and tests the accuracy of the personnel Watch and Station Bill, and with a keen sense of anticipation for the return to Sydney, Anzac departed Fleet Base West and completed an unusually benign transit across the Great Australian Bight, which included a patrol of the Bass Strait oil rig platforms.
Although the ship was away from its home port for three-and-a-half months conducting maintenance, Anzac demonstrated the experience could be a positive one. Through innovative ideas for team building and fostering esprit de corps, Anzac was able to maintain high levels of professionalism throughout the time away.
Anzac will conclude 2017 conducting Warfare Assessment Week and Exercise Ocean Raider, the latter building joint capability with the Royal Australian Air Force and conducting Task Group Certification with HMA Ships Canberra and Stuart.
Next year Anzac will deploy to South East Asia in support of regional security initiatives, fulfilling important national priorities.
All these activities will be enabled by the important efforts of Anzac’s maintenance period.