Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In a Navy Catch-22, Peter and Linda Hilton haven’t actually lived together much since 2004, and now it’s happening again.
Image of Chief Petty Officer Peter Hilton at sea
Chief Petty Officer Peter Hilton
Just before New Year, Peter headed off for a maritime security patrol in the Gulf of Aden, while Linda will be working as the Chief Coxswain at HMAS Albatross.
Peter, a Chief Petty Officer, and his 190 shipmates aboard HMASStuart won’t be back until the middle of 2011.
“I joined the Navy in 1977 and I’ll actually be 50 on this trip,” said Peter. “Most of my time so far has been spent in patrol boats around the Pacific.
“My last time in the Gulf was 1982 — no war, so no medal. This time though I’ll be eligible for two medals I’ll be getting my first Australian Active Service Medal — my first real war medal after all these years!
“I’ll also be eligible for the Afghan medal because our deployment is tied into the operation against international terrorism.”
HMAS Stuart is an ANZAC Class frigate. Its formidable armament includes a 5-inch gun, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, self-defence missiles, torpedoes and a Sea Hawk helicopter for long-range work.
“Pirates aren’t particularly new for me,” said Peter. “Last year my ship saw off a couple while we were on a round-the-world deployment.
“On this trip my job is on the bridge, steering the ship.
“Linda and I spend a lot of time apart but every time we are together it’s like a honeymoon again, with the bonus of tax free dollars!
“This time will be no different. We’ll be going on holiday overseas with the kids, Jennifer (11) and Robert (10). It will be a good, long family relax — anywhere that there aren’t pirates.”
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