As HMAS Parramatta patrols through the waters of the Gulf of Aden, crew members often have thoughts of home a long way away. Lieutenant Jeremy Richardson and Leading Seaman Cook Jason McDonnell share thoughts of a home common to them both.
As HMAS Parramatta patrols through the waters of the Gulf of Aden, crew members often have thoughts of home a long way away. Lieutenant Jeremy Richardson and Leading Seaman Cook Jason McDonnell share thoughts of a home common to them both.

Former Shalom boys in Middle East

THREE former Shalom College students now serving in the Australian armed forces are on deployment in the Middle East.

Lieutenant Jeremy Richardson and Able Seaman Jason McDonnell are serving in the navy on board HMAS Parramatta, which is carrying out counter piracy and terrorism patrols.

Lt Richardson is HMAS Parramatta's Deputy Supply Officer after joining the Royal Australian Navy in 1996.

“My job on board Parramatta involves overseeing the day-to-day aspects of the supply department and forward planning for activities such as port visits,” he said.

“Every day there is always something different and that's why I love my job - I serve with some incredible people who teach me new things almost daily.”

This is Lt Richardson's first deployment to the Middle East but he has previously deployed to North East Asia visiting countries such as Singapore, China, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Noumea and Samoa.

Able Seaman McDonnell joined the navy in 2002 and trained as a cook at HMAS Cerberus.

He is the victualling manager on board Parramatta.

“This involves ordering and storing provisions, issuing of provisions on a daily basis, writing and costing of a six-week menu - compiling and maintaining the rations management system as well as helping out in the galley,” Able Seaman McDonnell said.

“I'm also responsible for ordering and storing enough provisions so the ship can be sustained for a minimum of 14 days.”

This is Able Seaman McDonnell's second deployment to the Middle East and he has also visited Hawaii, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

Another former Shalom student serving in the Middle East is Christopher Manske, who is now a Leading Aircraftman with the RAAF, working on C-130 Hercules.

Leading Aircraftman Manske used to work for QantasLink.

“I was just handling the baggage and doing the bookings, but I liked the aircraft and I took an interest,” he said.

“I did my initial training at Wagga, which required a lot of study, but then I got out into the squadron and got my hands dirty again.”



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