NELSON Bay local, Katrina Harris, is currently at sea with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as part of Operation Manitou.
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This is her first deployment to the Middle East and she will return onboard HMAS Newcastle to Sydney in December.
Operation Manitou’s purpose is to contribute to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, a 31-strong nation partnership.
Their mission is to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, encourage regional cooperation and promote a safe maritime environment.
Other countries involved include Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States
The deployment of HMAS Newcastle marks the 65th rotation of a RAN vessel to the Middle East region since 1990.
Katrina, who has been in the Navy since 2012, is a Marine Technician within the Marine Engineering Department and maintains the Adelaide-class frigate’s diesel engines as well as the two rigid-hull inflatable boats used for boarding other vessels.
AB Harris has also recently become part of the ship’s boarding party, a role she is very much enjoying.
Speaking to a RAN representative, Katrina said, “We have a great crew on board, which makes it easier to be away from our loved ones and the deployment more enjoyable.”
Looking forward to Christmas and spending the summer with her friends, Katrina can’t wait to have a barbeque at Little Beach, four-wheel driving on Stockton beach and heading to Myall Lakes for a camping trip.
“The last time I visited home was a week before we left on this deployment,” she said.
Katrina has always loved boats and the water so it is unsurprising that it led her to a career in the Navy.
Nelson Bay will welcome you home Katrina and is grateful to you for serving your country and helping to make the world a safer place for all.
By Sarah STOKES