International Women’s Day Feature
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Katie Thorburn joined the Navy from Maryborough, Queensland, at 17 and has achieved more in her young life than most 23 year olds could dream of.
“I originally wanted to be an electrician, and thanks to some creative recruiting, I ended up as an Electronics Technician.
“It has been a pretty interesting career to date though, and I’m currently the SPY-1D(V) radar system and MK-99 Fire Control System senior maintainer on-board HMAS Hobart,” Leading Seaman Thorburn said.
The committed sailor was part of the commissioning crew of the guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart and conducted ship qualification trials where she was part of a team that fired eleven missiles.
“I was personally on the missile systems supervisor console for two of them.
“In this role I’m responsible for actioning the firing order once granted and ensuring the serviceability and availability of our six launchers and two fire control directors that guide the missile onto the target.
“My first missile firing at during our ship qualification trials was one of the best days of my life, as it was the culmination of years’ worth of training and our team had worked really long and hard to get to this point.
“The moment that missile went into the air, my heart raced, a huge grin spread across my face, I squealed in the middle of the Operations room; it was such a buzz!
“I’ll never forget that feeling, or the feeling of being part of such an amazing Fire Control team - we executed all of our training and hard work to perfection,” Leading Seaman Thorburn said.
She attributes many leaders and mentors to why she loves what she does.
“It's been really valuable to have Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Lorne Bramley on-board.
“He has helped my leadership skills and encouraged me to have faith in myself to become the type of leader that I admire.
“Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Luke Batiste has also been such a huge influence in developing my technical aptitude and professionalism - his passion is infectious and has been a strong contributor of my development in my own technical and leadership styles.
“I’ve also been fortunate to have a couple of strong and capable women in my department, with Able Seaman Electronics Technician Stacey Verrall as our Gun Weapons Operator and Able Seaman Electronics Technician Stacey Fitzpatrick keeping the brains of the combat system operational.
“I also have Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Suzie Peterson as the Head of the Weapons/Communications section, and Lieutenant Louella Yu as our Deputy Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer,” Leading Thorburn said.
She also said there were many reasons why she loves her job.
“I love being able to see the growth and development in the new SPY technicians that have posted on-board, and that I can be a contributor to that process.
“There’s such a huge sense of pride when we rectify a difficult defect, both individually and for the team.
“It’s a real privilege to be able to help develop the AEGIS community and the capability of our newest warships,” Leading Seaman Thorburn said.
The theme of International Women’s Day 2020 is ‘Generation Equality’, which is a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a new vision where every girl and woman everywhere has equal opportunities to lead, to learn, to earn a decent living and to live lives free from violence and discrimination.