Navy technician has some advice for anyone thinking of returning

Published on Mrs Rachael Reynolds (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Melbourne (F05), Rejoining Navy

Chief Petty Officer Michael Claessens recommends returning to Navy via some Reserve service for members who have been out for some time. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Chief Petty Officer Michael Claessens recommends returning to Navy via some Reserve service for members who have been out for some time.

A Navy Chief Petty Officer who initially left Navy in 2008 has returned and slotted seamlessly back into service.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Claessens found the skills that he had developed within the Navy were a considerable advantage for his time within Industry, being employed as a subject matter expert in each of his roles.

CPO Claessens worked for several different companies in his eight years away from the RAN, including Tenix/BAE Systems, Rolls Royce Australia Services and Jacobs Engineering. He found that Defence Industry always made a point of evolving and assisting Defence if changes were required or needed to be made.

“I believe that Navy as a workplace has improved in my time away,” he said.

However for CPO Claessens, a distinct lack of interesting long term stable Defence Industry roles in Melbourne had him reassessing his options. He ultimately undertook some Navy Reserve work and 12 months later received an offer to re-join. 

“The process was relatively straight forward and only took about four weeks,” CPO Claessens said.

The only downside to re-joining is having to leave family behind.

“This process never gets any easier,” he said.

Otherwise it’s like ‘riding a bike’ and he says he has slotted back in like he never left with his skills and currency all recognised.

This has been valuable in his current role as Assistant Damage Control Officer for HMAS Melbourne.

CPO Claessens has one main recommendation to anyone considering re-joining. 

“If an extended period of inactive service has elapsed, I would recommend some Reserve work prior to re-signing to get back into the swing of things,” he said. 

Over the last five years, almost 240 members have transferred back to full-time service, 80 of whom have been technical sailors. Job security, conditions of service and simply missing the Navy ‘family’ are common reasons of members returning to active service.