Far from her hometown of Ulverstone, Taylor Burgess is on the high seas as part of an international aid mission.
Taylor is serving as an Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor on board HMAS Tobruk (II).
She is currently deployed to Papua New Guinea for PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2013, a humanitarian aid mission to render medical and engineering assistance to the townships of Wewak and Vanimo.
Taylor, 22, joined the Royal Australian Navy in early 2011 and posted to HMAS Tobruk (II) about 18 months ago after working in the Defence Communications Centre at HMAS Kuttabul.
“I didn’t really want to go to uni but I wanted to learn and I also wanted to travel,” she said.
“My primary role is to manage the ship’s local area network and I maintain the IT systems throughout the ship.”
Taylor received a surge of work early in the deployment as the number of people on board for the deployment joined the ship.
“At the moment we have over 100 embarked personnel on the HMAS Tobruk on top of the crew of 190 and it’s my job to make sure they all have access to systems they need.”
“The first few days at sea were pretty hectic as I set the ship’s network up for so many new users but we got there pretty quickly.”
Taylor is highly regarded by her colleagues and supervisors as a hard and enthusiastic worker.
“She consistently puts in one hundred per cent and always does so with a smile,” Chief Petty Officer Scott Revell said.
Taylor has enjoyed the opportunities she has had to travel in the Navy, both overseas and within Australia.
“We visited New Zealand and Noumea last year which was really cool but even just around Australia I’ve seen places like Cairns and Darwin which I probably would normally just got to,” she said.
Travel aside, one of Taylor’s favourite experiences at sea is serving as a member of the ship’s standing fire and emergency party.
“I love it!” she said.
“It’s heaps of fun being a fireman in a full fire fighting gear and everyday has an adrenaline rush when we do practice drills.”
Taylor will post off HMAS Tobruk later this year before posting to HMAS Cairns in Queensland.
She is looking forward to the move but has a few priorities in Sydney when she returns from deployment.
“I’d like to get some sea time on some of the ships in Cairns but before I leave Sydney I’m determined to spend every weekend somewhere new.”
Taylor is also planning to visit her family in Ulverstone after her deployment to Papua New Guinea is over.
PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP is a humanitarian aid mission to render medical and engineering assistance to Australia’s regional neighbours.
In addition to HMAS Tobruk’s deployment to Papua New Guinea, USS Pearl Harbor of the United States Navy will deploy to Samoa, Tonga and the Marshall Islands while HMZNS Canterbury provides aid to Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
JDS Yamagiri of the Japanese Self Defence Force will provide 20 personnel and a Seahawk helicopter in Papua New Guinea.
Volunteers from HMAS Tobruk’s crew will also refurbish sports facilities and public buildings for the two remote townships which have a combined population of approximately 40,000 people.
HMAS Tobruk will return from her mission in late July.