After six weeks helping communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the crew of HMAS Tobruk has arrived home in time for Christmas.
The sailors and officers arrived in their home port of Garden Island in Sydney on Saturday and were welcomed and congratulated on their work in the disaster zone by senior brass.
When the crew set sail for the Solomon Islands in October for a routine mission, they never imagined they would be redeployed within days to the Philippines after Haiyan made landfall.
The massive tropical cyclone wreaked devastation on coastal communities, killing thousands of people and leaving millions homeless and without access to food, water or medical supplies.
The commanding officer of Tobruk, Commander Leif Maxfield, said the crew was confronted by the scale of the damage upon arrival in Ormoc Bay.
“The crew worked hard as part of the multinational effort to help the local people get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible,” he said in a statement.
Tobruk supported the Australian Army’s relief operations in Ormoc Bay, including cleaning up schools and distributing aid to remote islands.
Commander Maxfield said the crew were happy to be back with their families after making a difference in those communities hardest hit.
“This is what many of us joined the navy for and why we train so hard,” he said.