Operation Philippines Assist

Operation Philippines Assist

Following the devastating effects on the Philippines caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, The Australian Defence Force requested The Memorial to join them on Operation ‘Philippines Assist’ to capture the visual documentation of as much life on deployment as possible.

I was warned by my supervisors to expect to encounter extremely confronting situations. I was both apprehensive and excited. When I arrived in Ormoc, the worst had past and aid was being delivered to where it was needed and rebuilding was underway.

I captured the Air Lift Command Centre who were shifting passengers and relief aid in C1-30 Hercules. I also filmed HMAS Tobruk crew, and the Ships’s Army Attachment  who were providing recovery support and clean up tasks at local schools. I filmed Tobruk’s journey home – the crew, the bridge right down to the engine rooms. Overall I filmed 40 interviews, acquired many hours of footage of the operation and took well over 1000 photographs.

In my short time observing the ADF both in the field and on HMAS Tobruk it reminded me of the culture that I had long forgotten since I was in the army back in 92. I admire the spirit of mateship and the meaning of professionalism. I am really impressed how the three forces work harmoniously together - as one team. The consensus was that all ADF members were proud to have made a positive difference.

Operation Philippines Assist was the first time the Australian War Memorial has documented an ADF operation which did not involve armed conflict it was a great opportunity for the Memorial to be represented “on the ground” of a large relief operation, forming a contrast between the nature of recovery and conflict operations.