Personnel from HMAS Tobruk, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have been awarded Military Civic Action medals by the Philippines Government for their assistance following Typhoon Haiyan in late 2013.
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Philippines, General Emmanuel Trinidad Bautista, awarded the medals onboard Tobruk yesterday, while the Australian Landing Ship (Heavy) was alongside Fleet Base East.
Presenting the medals to 18 grateful recipients, General Bautista said he and his country would never forget the assistance they received from Australia.
“I wanted to take the time to personally recognise and say thank you to you all by awarding you with this medal today,” General Bautista said.
Commanding Officer of Tobruk, Commander Leif Maxfield, said he was delighted with the honour for Tobruk’s Ships Company, which highlights their hard work on Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.
“Ships Company along with the RAAF and Army worked tirelessly during the operation to positively affect recovery in the areas devastated,” Commander Maxfield said.
Like many of the ships crew, Leading Seaman Narelle Knight said she found her time on Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST a very gratifying experience and was surprised at the honour given.
“The job wasn’t easy, but we were determined to complete everything that was asked of us and the reward was seeing the difference we were making,” Leading Seaman Knight said.
Four-hundred-and-eighty Australian Defence Force personnel will receive the Military Civil Action medals from the Philippines Government for meritorious achievement in the field of civic action through humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Tobruk Ship’s Company, along with members from the RAAF and Army, contributed to Operation Philippines Assist from late November till mid December 2013.
Tobruk is a Landing Ship Heavy, commissioned in 1981 and is based at Fleet Base East, Sydney.
Press Release, May 29, 2014; Image: Australian Navy