From playing with his dad on the deck of a crayfishing boat off Big Rat Island, Western Australia, to joining the Navy as a boatswain’s mate, Geraldton local Able Seaman Josh Keys has sought adventure.
CAPTION: ble Seaman Joshua Keys in front of NUSHIP Stalwart at Fleet Base West in Western Australia. Story by Lieutenant Laura Frayling. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Damian Pawlenko.
Able Seaman Keys has a strong family history of service. His grandmother, Jocelyn, proudly served as a nurse in the Army during World War II. Her belongings are now on display in the Geraldton RSL.
Able Seaman Keys joined the Navy in 2019, initially undertaking eight months of training at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria, where he learnt the necessary skills to become a sailor.
“Going through my initial training was certainly a challenge,” Able Seaman Keys said.
“Fortunately, it got easier as the training progressed and I quickly realised that everyone was going through the exact same challenges that I was.
“The friendships I formed throughout training are the kind that last a lifetime.”
Able Seaman Keys attended school at Strathalbyn Christian College, and, when he wasn’t at school, he spent majority of his time playing hockey, which included travelling to Perth regularly to represent Geraldton.
“Looking back now, it’s no surprise that I chose a career that would keep me on the water and provides a diverse range of career opportunities,” he said.
“This is a job which will always involve staying fit and meeting new people.”
On completion of initial training, Able Seaman Keys travelled to Darwin, deploying on Operation Resolute where he used his newly developed skill-set before posting to NUSHIP Stalwart in Western Australia.
Stalwart is one of two Supply-class auxiliary oilers built to replenish other warships at sea, boosting their range and endurance.
“I really enjoy being on Stalwart and appreciate that we are encouraged to be physically fit and make use of regular gym and sport sessions,” Able Seaman Keys said.
“I have recently been selected to participate in the ADF hockey team for the Australian Country Championships and I’m really looking forward to it – it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my shipmates.”
Stalwart will commission into service this month.