Representatives from the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Tobruk, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) were awarded Military Civic Action medals today 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, presented the medals onboard HMAS Tobruk alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney.
The Honourable Darren Chester MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, congratulated the Defence personnel on their award.
“The Australian Defence Force made a large contribution to Australian Government assistance following the impact of Typhoon Haiyan through Operation Philippines Assist,” Mr Chester said.
“Defence transported over 3300 internally displaced people and others from the affected areas and delivered more than 1800 tonnes of humanitarian and disaster relief cargo.
“Your assistance also included the provision of clean water, restoring power to key infrastructure, supporting the Australian Medical Assistance Team, and clean up tasks at schools in the Ormoc region.
“It is very clear you deserve to be recognised for your hard work and commitment to our close regional neighbour. I am sure you are proud to be representing your Services here today and to receive your medals direct from General Bautista.”
Commanding Officer of HMAS Tobruk, Commander Leif Maxfield, was delighted HMAS Tobruk’s ship’s company received the honour.
“The ship’s company, including our RAAF and Army detachments, worked tirelessly during the operation to positively affect recovery in the areas devastated,” Commander Maxfield said.
“It is difficult dealing with any disaster, but this is the job we signed up for and it was rewarding to be able to offer assistance to those in need.
“Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief is one of our core capabilities on Tobruk and it is something we train very hard to maintain.”
480 Australian Defence Force personnel are receiving the Military Civil Action medal from the Philippines Government for meritorious achievement in the field of civic action through Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
Haiyan was recorded as one of the strongest typhoons in history, devastating the Philippines with more than 6000 fatalities and causing damage in excess of $2.8 billion.
Following the devastation of the typhoon, the Philippines Government reached out to Australia for support, which was provided in the form of $70 million in aid and military assistance.
The Australian Defence Force contributed to Operation Philippines Assist from late November until mid-December 2013.
HMAS Tobruk is a Landing Ship Heavy, commissioned in 1981 and based at Fleet Base East, Sydney.
Imagery of Operation Philippines Assist and the medal presentation is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20141506
Chloe Petch (Darren Chester’s office) (02) 6277 4029
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999