During their Operation MANITOU deployment, personnel from Maritime Operations Support Group and Combined Task Force 150 visited the US Navy Patrol Craft USS Firebolt for a tour.
This was particularly significant for some of the members of the Australia Navy because of an incident which occurred 11 years ago in the North Arabian Gulf where USS Firebolt and HMAS Stuart were jointly conducting patrol operations. On April 24, 2004, three personnel from Firebolt were killed and four were seriously wounded when the dhow they were investigating blew up as part of a coordinated attack on the Iraqi oil terminals.
Stuart was immediately on the scene providing helicopter and medical support to the crew.
Touring the ship and seeing the memorials was a stark reminder of the incident for both Chief Petty Officer Giddens and Petty Officer Communication and Information Systems Jimmy Galletly.
Petty Officer Galletly said:
Back in 2004, it was difficult to grasp the significance of the incident and the legacy that would still exist 11 years later.
Having the chance to visit Firebolt and view the memorials on board was a sombre reminder of three US servicemen that gave their lives in the international campaign against terrorism
Image: Australian Navy