Ricky Garner loves working on Armidale Class Patrol Boats but it’s nothing compared to the love of his family which the Royal Australian Navy helped him build.
The former Oakland (NSW) and Palmerston (NT) product, 39, has enjoyed 20 years in the RAN as a marine technician with experiences in submarines and various platforms including HMA Ships Torrens, Westralia and Albany.
Looking back to his youth attending Oaklands Central School in southern New South Wales, Ricky said he always knew he was going to be a mechanic.
“I just didn’t think it would be in the Navy or in Patrol Boats, but I love it,” he said.
“When maintained correctly the patrol boats perform well - they are a very capable platform.”
Leading Seaman Garner has served in Armidale Class Patrol Boats for seven years giving his family of five a solid home base during his posting in Darwin.
“At the end of the day though I look forward most to having some peace and quiet at home with my beautiful family.
“I love my family and they are everything to me.”
As a member of Attack Three, Ricky is now one of approximately 500 Defence Force personnel deployed on Operation RESOLUTE, the ADF contribution to Australia’s Whole of Government maritime border security effort.
His family include wife Alicia and children Hayley (18), Conner (14), Kyra (12), Mackenzie (7) and Payton (5).
When asked about the specifics of their dad’s job, they have a unified answer “Dad fixes the boats to help them stay at sea”.
Ricky is not just a role model to his children at home but to the sailors he instructs as well.
As second in charge of engineering in patrol boat crew Attack Three, LSMT Garner supervises the education of junior Marine Technicians along with the maintenance and repair of all mechanical and electrical systems onboard.
Since his enlistment in 1993 Ricky has earned the Australian Defence Medal (awarded at four years of service), the Operational Service Medal (OSM) and the Defence Long Service Medal awarded after 15 years of service.
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.