Operational tasking tale told

The flight deck of HMAS Darwin became the launching platform of a different kind, as Navy supported the launch of a contemporary naval history book by Ian McPhedran, titled The Smack Track.

The publication, which chronicles the recent operational deployments of several ships deployed to the Middle East, including Darwin, was launched by Head of Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Adam Grunsell.

“The book provides an opportunity for not only family and friends of those who have served on our ships in the Middle East since 1990, but for all Australians to gain a greater appreciation of the unseen work of the Royal Australian Navy, and its impacts on illegal trafficking and the terrorism budget,” Rear Admiral Grunsell said.

“This book allows many to understand better the threats, challenges and absences endured by families that surround these lengthy deployments on operations in the Middle East.”

Former newspaper journalist, Mr McPhedran said one of the main reasons for writing the book was the impression that the public understanding of Navy operations was poor.

“The Navy, unlike the Army and the Air Force, goes about its work out of view,” he said.

“Once a ship sails and is over the horizon, the public doesn’t really give another thought until it comes back in again.
“The amazing and significant work done by the Navy is largely unknown, and that was the motivating factor in doing this book.”

The Commanding Officer of Darwin, Commander Phil Henry, and the ship’s company supported Mr McPhedran’s research by hosting him on board towards the end of their recent deployment.

Current and former Chiefs of Navy, Vice Admirals Tim Barrett and Ray Griggs supported the research and drafting phases in what has evolved as an important piece of contemporary military history.

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