At just 20 years of age, Seaman Boatswains Mate Amy Thomas today finds herself a long way from home, serving her country on HMAS Success in the Gulf of Aden during her first deployment with the Royal Australian Navy.
Reflecting on her service on the recent International Women’s Day, Seaman Thomas says she’s proud to be part of an organisation that encourages equality.
After serving less than 18 months, Seaman Thomas has completed her Jet Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat course and wants to become an active member of the boarding party. She’s already qualified to use the 9mm pistol, shotgun and 12.7mm heavy machine gun.
Growing up in a small coastal town, her life was mostly about netball, dancing and hanging out at the beach with friends.
Now, as a Seaman Boatswains Mate onboard a Navy vessel her life involves handling ropes, firing weapons and much more.
The Boatswains Mate category provides the bulk of Navy’s corps of professional seamen. They provide the specialist knowledge, training and supervision of the more advanced seamanship ‘evolutions’.
After graduating from Woodcroft College in Adelaide in 2013, and working in retail, she was soon looking for a new challenge and joined the Navy.
After completing Boatswains Mate training Seaman Thomas posted to Success in time for its deployment to the Middle East Region on Operation MANITOU, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to maritime security, stability and prosperity in the area.
Seaman Thomas says she plans to utilise her time at sea to increase her skill-set and enhance her overall job knowledge.
"Joining Success for a six month deployment immediately after training was a little daunting, but it is an experience I am grateful for," she said.
Seaman Thomas said the things she has enjoyed most during her deployment has been visiting overseas ports.
"My branch is typically dominated by males, but the Navy, and in particular Success, has given me opportunities to try things I never thought possible," Seaman Thomas said.
Success is due to return from deployment in June.