From the small farming community of Ladysmith near Wagga Wagga in NSW to the high seas on a Navy warship, Tristan Strong has found his calling.
CAPTION: Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Tristan Strong onboard HMAS Supply. Story by Lieutenant Jessica Craig. Photo by Leading Seaman David Cox.
Growing up on the farm his father still runs in Ladysmith, Able Seaman Strong is the first of his family to join the military, spurred on by a desire for constant change and new opportunities.
“I first joined Navy in 2009 through the 12 month-long Gap Year program, which gives young Australians the opportunity to travel and experience all the roles and platforms Navy has on offer,” Able Seaman Strong said.
“After completing that program, I decided to undertake a Bachelor of Photography.”
Following a number of jobs, including as the River Safety Coordinator travelling around Riverina region schools educating students about the dangers of swimming in rivers, Able Seaman Strong in 2018 decided the call back to the Navy was too strong.
“Since leaving Navy after the Gap Year program, I found myself constantly getting itchy feet and wanting change,” Able Seaman Strong said.
“It just made sense to sign back up after reminiscing about my time in Navy and the opportunities going back would afford me to get paid to regularly change scenery and take on new and interesting roles.
“I am glad to say I haven’t regretted that decision at all.”
Able Seaman Strong is a communication and information systems sailor who is in charge of operating and maintaining the ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications.
During his career, he has helped train Papua New Guinea Navy sailors in boarding party procedures, been involved in submarine hunting exercises, and even found himself at a barbecue on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean.
It is his current posting as part of the commissioning crew for HMAS Supply (II) – which came into Navy service on April 10 this year – that is providing new and exciting opportunities.
“HMAS Supply is an auxiliary oiler replenishment ship which supports Navy task groups, no matter where in the world they are, by providing them with fuel, food and other logistics while underway,” Able Seaman Strong said.
“I am really excited for the possibilities being posted to Navy’s first new replenishment ship will bring, knowing how critical our ship’s capability is for Navy and the region.”
Able Seaman Strong said being in a first-of-class ship had been a steep learning curve for the crew, but it ensured his job was varied and interesting.
“The ship is vastly different to any other in the fleet, and we’ve been busy since its arrival learning all the new equipment and helping to create and test procedures,” Able Seaman Strong said.
“I feel lucky to be part of this crew as not only do we have an amazing capability to work in, we have all meshed really well and everyone is willing to push each other to achieve the best they can.”
Now Supply has commissioned, Able Seaman Strong and the crew will begin the test and evaluation period, leading into the ship’s full integration to fleet.