Combined effort to keep Toowoomba on mission

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Greg Gonzalez, front, and Able Seaman Marine Technician Jesse Jansen reassemble the final pieces of HMAS Toowoomba's propulsion diesel engine after the camshaft repairs. Photo: Leading Seaman Richard Cordell

Combined effort to keep Toowoomba on mission



The Navy adage ‘The Team Works’ is in action in HMAS Toowoomba as she operates in the southern Arabian Gulf on Operation Manitou.

Toowoomba’s marine technicians, Fleet Support Unit and a contractor from Penske Power Systems worked together over five days at the end of March to dismantle and replace a damaged camshaft.

Leading the team was propulsion chief Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Gregory Fletcher.  

“I have around 20 years of experience in Anzac-class frigates and I was surprised to see a defect of this kind,” Chief Petty Officer Fletcher said.

“I have seen bottom-end overhauls conducted as a result of a multitude of other common failures, but to see a camshaft degrade in this manner is definitely a first for me. I guess this is why I love the job so much. Every day brings something new and exciting.” 

The camshaft defect damaged two injector lobes so the ship’s operational environment required swift and precise repairs.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Jesse Jansen was fascinated by the magnitude of the task.
“It has been an extremely rewarding experience to be part of a repair of this kind,” Able Seaman Jansen said.

“As a trainee at sea it has given me exposure to repairs that are normally conducted in the comfort of a workshop.” 

The value of Navy’s civilian outplacement program was also evident during the repairs. The program offers technical sailors the opportunity to develop their specialist skills alongside civilian industry partners.  

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Gregory Gonzalez, a part of the repair team, is a former Penske Outplacement Program participant.

“This repair has been an extremely rewarding opportunity as I was able to put my previous experience into practice and further my knowledge of these engines,” Leading Seaman Gonzalez said.

The Australian Frigate Group’s Commander Keith Taylor said the work was an incredible effort by all involved.

“Civilian and uniformed members across a multitude of engineering, logistics and operational agencies have come together to deliver an efficient repair solution,” Commander Taylor said.

“Maintaining mission-critical capability and maintaining Australia’s commitment to international security operations is our number one priority.” 

Toowoomba has completed two and a half months of her six-month deployment.

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