For some members of HMAS Adelaide’s ship’s company, being part of the ADF’s bushfire relief operation has been more meaningful because of personal connections to the communities affected by the fires.

Leading Seaman Medic Kiah Chapple has family in Batemans Bay and Bermagui who relocated to Wollongong because of the bushfires.

“I am glad that my family are safe and very happy that I can be here on the ship involved in the Navy response,” Leading Seaman Chapple said.

This is the first time in her eight-year career in Navy that Leading Seaman Chapple has been called out to provide humanitarian support during a natural disaster.

Training with Navy and the Army has been a positive experience that has prepared her for tri-service environments such as the current team on Adelaide.

Specialising in underwater medicine and having previously served in Adelaide, Leading Seaman Chapple was readily prepared to respond to the urgent need to join the ship and quickly integrate with the embarked medical team.

“Everyone in the ship is great to work with. We have a professional medical team, and everyone is ready to go if needed,” she said.

Leading Seaman Chapple said she was proud to “be there for her family and community,” and knows her medical team and the entire crew of Adelaide feel the same way.

HMAS Adelaide, in conjunction with HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore, are working of the Australian South East Coast providing valuable aid to the communities impacted by the bushfires.