Defence has welcomed home HMAS Ships Toowoomba, Stalwart, Brisbane and Choules after a three-month regional presence deployment in Northeast and Southeast Asia. Over 700 Navy officers and sailors were welcomed back to their homeports by family and friends just in time for Christmas. Toowoomba and Stalwart returned to HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, while Brisbane and Choules returned to HMAS Kuttabul in NSW.
Regional presence deployments deepen Australia’s international relationships across the region and enhance our ability to operate with partner nations and allies during security or humanitarian crises. This deployment is part of the Australian Defence Force’s robust and long-standing program of regional engagement that demonstrates Australia’s enduring commitment to an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
The task group completed multiple activities with partner nations including Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. HMAS Choules deployed to Honiara, and provided logistical support to the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Solomon Islands Police during the 2023 Pacific Games.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome home the crews of HMA Ships Toowoomba, Stalwart, Brisbane and Choules from their regional deployments, where they made notable contributions to Australia’s reputation through diplomacy in cooperation with our partners and allies. These ships are impressive capabilities, but it is our people who get the job done. During their deployments, each one of these sailors has lived an exciting and inspiring story. They have experienced things most Australians never will. As a professional team they have furthered Australia’s reputation in the region and beyond. However, they don’t do it alone: our sailors at sea derive their strength from their loved ones at home, thank you to the families and friends for your enduring support of our people. While the return of these ships is an occasion to celebrate, I would also like to recognise and thank our people who will remain on watch, at sea and ashore; ready to respond during this festive period and beyond.”