Team keeps spotlight on commitment to region

Lieutenant Gary McHugh and Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez interview Able Seaman Matthew Hicks on the ship's bridge during a Regional Presence Deployment. Photo: Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez

Team keeps spotlight on commitment to region

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “if there isn’t a photo, then it never happened”.

This saying is almost taken literally by members of Navy’s Communications and Media Branch, and none more so than deployed public affairs teams.

The public affairs team in HMAS Ballarat has produced 1214 photographs, 18 video products and 36 articles since the ship sailed from her home port of Fleet Base West at the end of April on a Regional Presence Deployment.

This product is routinely picked up and re-published by mainstream media outlets unable to be there to tell the story, keeps Navy families informed of what their loved ones do, and ultimately document Navy’s history and commitment to the nation.

Ballarat’s team, consisting of Lieutenant Gary McHugh and Leading Seaman Imagery Specialist Ernesto Sanchez, has worked around the clock at times in dynamic situations, including the search for the lost submarine KRI Nanggala and on maritime patrols as part of Operation Argos.

Lieutenant McHugh and Leading Seaman Sanchez also remotely managed imagery product from sister ship HMAS Parramatta during a parallel deployment. 

Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said the public affairs team had worked hard to ensure the various activities undertaken during the deployment were documented for posterity.

Ballarat has had an extremely busy deployment, having been tasked with a wide variety of duties over the past three months,” Commander Pisani said.

“It’s important that all these activities, such as regional engagements, are recorded and publicised to show the world that we’re committed to maintaining a presence in the region.

“By doing this, the public affairs team has amplified our strategic messaging of partnership and cooperation by providing high quality stills, vision, social media messaging and articles to showcase Ballarat’s achievements during the deployment.”

Leading Seaman Sanchez said a big part of being a successful imagery specialist was embedding into the ship’s routine immediately upon posting.

“I really enjoy getting around the ship and interacting with the entire ship’s company,” Leading Seaman Sanchez said.

“This also makes it a lot easier for me to approach people when we want to write an article or interview them in their workplace.”

See the Regional Presence Deployment images on the Defence News Gallery

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