Memories of growing up on the beaches around Bensville, near Gosford, must now seem very distant for 23 year old Able Seaman Kane Ryan.
Kane is part of a large Royal Australian Navy contingent serving on Operation SLIPPER in the Middle East. Based at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, Ryan provides technical support to more than 1000 members of Joint Task Force 633.
“My job involves working at the Communications and Information Helpdesk, looking after IT users, over 1,000 workstations and more than 100 printers all connecting to servers. I also take help desk calls resolving a range of different IT issues,” he said.
It took two months of pre-deployment training in Darwin before Kane could join the Joint Task Force in the Middle East.
“Conducting the training really opened my eyes to the threats that are involved, especially in Afghanistan, like the Improvised Explosive Devices and the other types of dangers that exist up here,” Able Seaman Ryan said.
At 15, Kane worked at the local Bi-Lo Supermarket before deciding to take the plunge and join the Royal Australian Navy at 17. He also sacrificed what might have been a promising tennis career, having achieved a national ranking.
Now, surrounded by a significant amount of military communications equipment, Kane says it’s the water that he misses most about home.
“I grew up on the Central Coast and spent most of my life there, so I have always been around the beach. I’ve also got a large group of friends, which I’m looking forward to catching up with.
As for his list of priorities when he gets home.
“It’s pretty straightforward, I want to see my family, my friends, relax and have some time off,” Kane said.
Able Seaman Ryan is no stranger to long periods away from home on deployments, in 2010 he was stationed in HMAS Parramatta for a six month tour of the Arabian Gulf as part of Operation SLIPPER’s maritime component.
“The Navy definitely does its part up here, but now I’m on the other side, learning how the Air Force and Army conduct themselves in a joint environment deployment,” Kane said.