A warship is an unusual place to find a knitting club, but that hasn’t stopped ex-Shoalhaven local Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Linda Hanna from keeping up her skills while at sea as part of her holistic approach to maintaining happiness and health.
The mother of five was recently deployed in Royal Australian Navy replenishment ship HMAS Success for a five month regional engagement activity encompassing South East Asia and the Pacific, and Exercise RIMPAC 2018 in Hawaii.
She said she was following a lifelong dream when she enlisted into the Navy in 2016.
“Watching my husband Darren, who served as a Naval Police Coxswain in the Navy for 21 years, gave me an insight into what life would be like away from my family and made me realise it was time to put myself first,” Able Seaman Hannah said.
“My close family weren’t sure about it, but my husband understood and supported me 100 percent.”
Being away from her family for extended periods of time hasn’t been easy on Able Seaman Hannah, who has had children hospitalised and a death in the family while at sea.
“Being a mum at sea is a difficult, but rewarding experience,” she said.
“Navy has been really supportive, allowing me to go home and support my family then return and continue on with the deployment.
“I needed to make sure everyone was happy and healthy, but now I’m back more focused and determined than ever.”
Visiting a Vietnamese orphanage during her deployment struck home for Able Seaman Hannah, who said she found the experience confronting.
“It really hit home and made me realise how lucky my children are and how much I love them,” she said.
“We also had the opportunity to deliver pallets of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu’s Ambae Island after they were affected by a volcanic eruption earlier this year.
“Things like that are what it’s all about and what I joined to do – helping others and making a difference, while still being able to provide for my family.”
She said joining the Navy and undertaking her role in logistics was about showing her kids they could achieve whatever they put their minds to if they never give up.
As a Supply Chain sailor, she has found her niche in enabling ordering and receipt of essential equipment and stores ensuring the ship’s company have the tools to do their jobs.
“I’ve had many unique experiences, made life-long friends and made memories I’ll cherish forever since joining Navy,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, I just want my kids, dad and husband to be proud of me.”