It was a joyous moment for 25-year-old Chelsey Patterson, as she arrived into Fiji after 3 years on board HMAS Adelaide which is one of the largest Naval ships of Australia.
Patterson was born and raised in Fiji and she moved to Australia in 2008 and works as an Abel Seamen Medic on board the HMAS Adelaide.
Patterson is halfway through studying a Bachelor of Medical Science through Victoria University.
She says she joined the Navy to give back to Australia after migrating there with her family and feels it is the least she can do.
She attended Holy Trinity Anglican School where she was the Head Girl and Saint Joseph’s Secondary School while she was in Fiji.
Patterson will also be visiting the St. Christopher’s Orphanage during the ship’s port visit, a place she holds close to her heart.
She adds she grew up volunteering and helping at the orphanage.
Another Fijian on board the ship, Michelle Vocea says she misses many things about Fiji, including the food and her family.
Vocea works as an Able Seaman Communications sailor and her parents work and live in Fiji for most of the year.
Meanwhile, two Royal Australian Navy Ships HMAS Adelaide and Melbourne arrived in Suva yesterday as a part of Indo‑Pacific Endeavour 2018, a major regional engagement exercise.
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes says the relationship between Fiji and Australia is really warm at the moment.
He says that the visit is a visible tangible demonstration of the Australian government’s commitment to step up its relation in the Pacific and with Fiji.
Republic of Fiji Military Forces Chief of Staff, Colonel Jone Kalouniwai says that they are excited the two ships are in Fiji and it is a big learning curve for the RFMF.
Kalouniwai says that the relationship between Fiji and Australia is very strong.
Eight members of the RFMF have been aboard HMAS Adelaide during the transit from Australia to Suva.
HMAS Adelaide was commissioned on December 2015 and can accommodate up to 1,403 personnel.
The two ships will be here till tomorrow and will take part in more than 40 activities.
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