LS Liam Carruthers deployed on HMAS Perth
20 October 2016
Leading Seaman Liam Carruthers is a sensor operator on Navy's most modern and advanced helicopter type, the MH-60R Seahawk, deployed to the Middle East region on HMAS Perth as part of Operation Manitou.
Operation Manitou’s primary goal is to contribute to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 31 nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.
His job in the aircraft is to monitor the suite of sensors looking for other ships and dhows on the ocean ahead of HMAS Perth, which could be smuggling weapons or drugs.
The aircraft also works in two other critical roles; as overwatch protecting the Ship's Boarding Party who board any suspect ships and dhows they come across, and it can also serve a search and rescue function for any maritime emergencies.
LS Carruthers has the distinction of being the first sensor operator in the Australian Navy to be trained in the MH-60R role.
Like HMAS Perth and the MH-60R Seahawk he is also on his first operational seagoing deployment.
"I went through my Squirrel aircrewman conversion course in 2011 and the day I got my wings I was told I was to be one of the first to be trained on the Romeo Seahawks in Florida in the United States," LS Carruthers said.
"It was awesome, I was there during 2013-2014 for 18 months and I learned a lot."
LS Carruthers has worked with the S-70B version of the Seahawk, but it was not in his current role.
"I was a maintainer on the Bravo version and now it's a step up for me to now be an aircrewman on the Romeo," he said.
"Comparing what I’ve been told of the experience on the Bravo version, the Romeo is much more sophisticated and it is essentially a complete portable operations room.
"With all of its systems working together in the aircraft, we can paint an accurate picture of what is out there on the sea ahead of the ship."
As well as monitoring the sensors in the aircraft he has many other functions.
"I also provide a surface swimmer capability for search and rescue tasks," he said.
"I perform many roles and it's a rewarding job.
"In the future I'd like to be an instructor on the aircrewman course."
LS Carruthers joined the Navy in 2005 after finishing high school at Parafield Gardens High School, South Australia.
In his spare time LS Carruthers hobby is fishing and is extremely good at hooking a catch from his boat.
"My old man got me into it and I started when I was three-years old," LS Carruthers said.
"He was in the Air Force as a P-3 Orion maintainer and he used to take me fishing in South Australia. When I moved to Nowra with the Navy, I decided to buy a boat and fish more.
"Before I went to the United States in 2013 I entered a few Bream fishing tournaments, but didn't have much success."
After returning from the US and fishing there, he decided to enter another event in 2015 with a new boat.
"I entered my first event at Batemans Bay to christen my boat and won," he said.
"I wanted to step up and enter the Australian Bream tournament series league, which I did two events, gaining enough points to receive the last place for the grand final event.
"Knowing I would be deploying this year, I decided to enter the final in December last year at the Clarence River in Yamba, NSW."
Over the three-day event he caught his bag limit of fish, surprising himself and his fellow competitors.
"After the first day I was placed ninth out of 50 and after the second day I was sixth," he said.
"I had a cracker of a last day, where I caught my biggest bag of fish ever, winning the Australian title."
After catching the fish he places them into an oxygenated tank aboard his boat, so they are kept alive before being weighed. After they are weighed the fish are released into the water.
"The winner of the competition is the person who has the overall heaviest combined catch," he said.
"I won by 22 grams and collected a $15,000 outboard motor as a prize; get to hold the trophy for a year and I have automatic entry into the competition grand final so I can defend my title this year.
"This year the final will be held at my local waterway, St Georges Basin near Nowra."
LS Carruthers will be back from his deployment in time to defend his title in December.