Leading Seaman (LS) Shaun Black is spending this Christmas patrolling Australia's northern waters onboard one of the Royal Australian Navy's Armidale Class Patrol Boats.
It’s a long way from home for the Sunshine Coast sailor who is looking forward to returning to his wife Kristine and two dogs Chopper and Bella.
As a member of the Ardent THREE crew currently embarked in HMAS Launceston, Shaun is one of approximately 800 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed this Christmas on Operation RESOLUTE, the ADF’s contribution to Australia’s Whole of Government border security effort.
Shaun’s love for the ocean started early when during his teenage years he participated in the Navy Cadets.
The Queenslander graduated from Maroochydore High School in 2004 before enlisting in the Navy the following year as a Boatswains Mate.
Eight years on and Shaun has served in a number of ships that have allowed him travel to a variety of foreign ports.
He said his position onboard patrol boats has been very challenging but rewarding, only reaffirming that he made the right decision to join the Defence force.
“As a Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate onboard a patrol boat I am an Officer of the Watch, second in charge of the boarding party and armoury supervisor,” he said.
LS Black is a senior crew member, often looked to for guidance from the various junior sailors onboard.
“The Navy is made up of boats, ships, equipment but most important is the people, I have made some life time friends who I am proud to have served with,” LS Black said.
Recently, the Boatswains Mate was awarded the Operational Service Medal (OSM) for his tireless efforts in border protection operations in Northern Australia. Being awarded the honour in front of his shipmates was an experience that gave Shaun a real sense of pride.
“The OSM is a new medal awarded to all ADF members who serve on border protection operations, it is nice to be recognised for the countless hours we spend patrolling the northern Australian waters,” he said.
It’s been a big year for Shaun, who with wife Kristine recently purchased their first house together in Cairns.
Up to seven of the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats operating from Darwin and Cairns are deployed at sea at any one time, conducting maritime border security operations in Australia’s northern waters.
The patrol boats and their crew of 21 provide surveillance and response to counter eight distinct maritime threats including; terrorism, people smuggling, illegal fishing, prohibited imports and exports, quarantine risks, pollution, piracy and other illegal activity.
LS Black is looking forward to some well-deserved rest, so he can travel to Maroochydore and catch up with his proud parent’s Michelle and John and spend some time with his Nan, Nola in Buderim.