Living the dream

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Gerard Reeves system checks HMAS Arunta's Vertical Launch System's control unit. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Gerard Reeves system checks HMAS Arunta's Vertical Launch System's control unit.

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Gerard Reeves has been looking forward to his current deployment for some time now.

He is onboard HMAS Arunta which is currently participating in a bilateral maritime exercise with the Indian Navy, AUSINDEX15, as part of the ship’s North East Asian deployment.

Arunta is one of three Royal Australian Navy vessels, two ships and a submarine, who have made the passage to India for the exercise.

Twenty-five year old Leading Seaman Reeves specialises in weapons systems on Anzac class frigates and has served in the Royal Australian Navy for six years. He says he is living his dreams with the job he has to do.

“I love my job because I get to play with big guns and missiles every single day, and I get to travel the world while doing it,” Leading Seaman Reeves said.

“I’ve been to so many places I never thought I would see, and have done some things that not many people can make claim to have done. 

“This deployment is especially exciting as I will be able to visit many countries I have never been to before.

“I plan to make the most of this experience by seeing as many exotic cities as I can, and experiencing some different cultures; I am so looking forward to trying some crazy foods,” he said. 

At the same time, Leading Seaman Reeves has some personal development goals for this deployment. He intends to develop his professional skills by gaining qualifications and experience during this time, which will assist him in the future, no matter which way his career takes him. 

Growing up in Chiltern, Victoria, Leading Seaman Reeves didn’t have to move too far to join the Navy in 2009, when he commenced his training as Electronics Technician at HMAS Cerberus

He is now trained in all weapons systems on board the Anzac class - the five-inch gun, decoy systems, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes  - just to name a few.

As a maintainer his job primarily involves maintaining and repairing the weapon systems on board.  However, he has also been involved in boarding party teams for two separate Middle East deployments, including two separate interceptions of illegal drug trafficking worth close to half a billion dollars (5.6 tonnes of hashish and 320kg of heroin).

“This was certainly one of my career highlights and an exciting time to be a sailor, on board a ship, at sea,” Leading Seaman Reeves said.

“In HMAS Toowoomba, I deployed to Operation SLIPPER in 2011 and Operation MANITOU in 2014, and I was also involved in Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN, the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370. 

“So this North East Asian deployment is certainly going to be different to what I have experienced in the past. 

“Working and interacting with other navies, while getting to put my training and skills to practice, it's an awesome experience.”