Able Seaman Aviation Avionics Technician Jayne Lawson couldn’t have asked for a more personal first overseas deployment: this week her ship, HMAS Stuart, sailed into Cebu, her mother’s home city.
Stuart is in the Philippines to take part in commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
The ship is part of a task group visiting regional partners in Northern and Southern Asia for multinational exercises and regional engagement activities.
“My family in Australia is proud of me, and my family in the Philippines is thrilled that I get to visit as part of a Navy engagement,” Able Seaman Lawson said.
“As for me, I’m excited to show them the ship and the helicopter and the work that I do.”
Able Seaman Lawson, from Caboolture, Queensland, has been in the Royal Australian Navy for five years. She followed her brother into aviation - he is a technician for an airline - because she wanted to do something similar to his work.
“The Navy was the more exciting option for me because I wanted to travel with my job,” she said.
“Nobody in my family does anything like this.”
The Queenslander is visibly proud of the work she does on Stuart’s MH-60R.
“The most satisfying part of my job is when we’re needed to get the aircraft ready to support the ship - that’s when we really see the real purpose of our job and feel part of something important.
“I am part of an amazing team. The best thing about the Navy is the people; it’s working with your family.”
Meanwhile, her Cebu family hosted a lunch in her honour at the family home, where aunts, uncles and cousins joined to hear about her Navy experiences and take her sightseeing.
She was greeted by a ‘welcome home’ banner with a life-size photo of herself in her Royal Australian Navy Uniform.
Able Seaman Lawson was able to invite her uncles and an aunt to the official reception on board Stuart on the ship’s last night in Cebu.
“It has been a pretty great opportunity to spend time with my mother’s family and to share this experience with them,” she said.