Leading Seaman David Gouge played his part in the International Fleet Review (IFR) from October 3-10 in Sydney aboard HMAS Darwin.
The 26-year-old from Tweed Heads said he gave up an apprenticeship in carpentry to join the Navy because it offered the camaraderie and career challenges he was looking for.
“I was working for Sea Breeze Homes when I decided to answer the call of the sea and join the Navy,” he said.
He said he joined in early 2007 because he wanted to walk in the footsteps of other family members who had benefitted from a challenging and rewarding career.
A major highlight of that career, he said, was being a part of the IFR.
“The IFR was a once-in-a-life time opportunity to celebrate one of Australia’s coming of age as a maritime power with seven modern warships, way back in 1913,” he said.
“The event celebrated all the hard work that many generations of Australian sailors have recorded over the past 100 years, helping to make this country what it is today.”
During the open days at the IFR, LS Gouge greeted visitors onboard HMAS Darwin and took the time to talk about his job. He also took part in damage control drills and fire-fighting demonstrations.
He said the crew worked hard to clean up the ship in time for the open day, after she was used as a platform for the spectacular fireworks on October 5.
“There was a lot of hard work done behind the scenes by all Darwin’s ship’s company to have her ship-shape for the IFR,” he said.
LS Gouge has been posted to Darwin for the past 18 months and is now helping his shipmates get the guided missile frigate ready for operational deployment.