Air Force's support to the Australian Government relief efforts Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST had concluded on Dec 20, 2013.
All Australian Air Force personnel and aircraft that participated in the relief operation were all instrumental in delivering needed support to the Philippines that the Australian Government wanted to give the country in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Air Force's biggest role in the Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST was allowing its C-130J Hercules transport flights throughout the Philippines. The aircraft and crew were supported by personnel specialising in air movements, aircraft security, air traffic control and aero-medical evacuation. A Combat Support Element forward deployed to Ormoc on the island of Leyte to provide airfield operations support for humanitarian aid delivery.
Australian Air Force was able to provide 250 flights, transporting relief goods across the affected area through the C-130J Hercules and C-17A.
"Air Force personnel and aircraft directly supported the relief effort alongside other international partners and the Philippine Government. I am proud of all Air Force members who played a role in Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST, which has enabled Australia to bring some relief to the people of the Philippines," Chief of Air Force, Air Marshall Geoff Brown, AO, said.
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Meanwhile, HMAS Tobruk, had also concluded its humanitarian mission in the Philippines, in support of the Australian Defence Force, after spending the last six weeks in the Philippines.
Acting Commander Australian Fleet, Commodore Jonathan Mead, was proud of his members selfless support to the operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST.
"In November, Tobruk deployed to the Philippines to provide assistance to the people following Tropical Cyclone Haiyan. The ship sailed with an embarked Army Recovery Support Force, medium landing craft (LCM8) and a Navy MRH-90 helicopter. While in the disaster zone, Tobruk conducted an amphibious lodgement of the embarked Army Recovery Support Force in Ormoc Bay, and took part in cleanup tasks at local schools. The ship also distributed aid from the World Food Programme and the Philippine Government to remote islands in the Visayas archipelago," Commodore Mead said.
Commanding Officer of Tobruk, Leif Maxfield, expressed humility in rendering help to the Philippines.
"We sailed from Sydney on 20 October for a deployment to the Solomon Islands. Little did we expect that we would be re-tasked to provide humanitarian support to the Philippines. Arriving in Ormoc Bay, the scale of damage was significant. 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. Arriving back in Sydney, the crew is excited to be joining our loved ones for Christmas. The consensus on the ship is that we are all proud to have made a positive difference. This is what many of us joined the Navy for and why we train so hard," Commander Maxfield said.
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Ben Walters is greeted by his two children Millie and Owen on the wharf at Garden Island. LS Walters had spent six weeks deployed to the Philippines onboard HMAS Tobruk on a humanitarian disaster relief operation.
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Daniel Hambly is reunited with his partner Able Seaman Communication Information Systems Candice Beec. LS Hambly spent the last six weeks deployed to the Philippines onboard HMAS Tobruk as part of a humanitarian disaster relief operation.
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