Submariners excited by sea of opportunity

On the same day Australia announced its acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, 10 prospective submariners got a taste of the job.

CAPTION: Ten of the newest prospective submariners conduct a realistic job preview with the Submarine Recruiting, Mentoring and Development Team at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia. Story by Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Merigan.

The realistic job preview (RJP) took place at HMAS Stirling on March 14, just as Australia’s Prime Minister stood with the UK Prime Minister and US President to outline the details of the acquisitions under the AUKUS partnership.

Conducted monthly, RJP is run by the Submarine Recruiting, Mentoring and Development Team, including Warrant Officer Jason Steward and Petty Officer Haydn Bonderenko.

“We provide candidates with relevant information to make an informed career choice and include a submarine tour and face-to-face discussions with serving submariners,” Warrant Officer Steward said.

The two-day course is provided to direct entry submariners and in-service personnel considering transfer to the submarine workforce.

Petty Officer Bonderenko said the AUKUS partnership and the Optimal Pathway to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines created many opportunities for submariners at any point in their career.

“For me, I will be looking to join the US and UK crews as part of the Submarine Rotational Force-West rotational presence in order to broaden my experiences in how a submarine is deployed and operated by our partnering nations,” Petty Officer Bonderenko said.

One of the prospective submariners, Able Seaman Meghan Wightman, said her motivation for transferring to become a submariner was that it would provide a challenge, increase job satisfaction and give a sense of achievement and pride.

“I have started the process to join submarines at a very exciting time, noting the announcement of the Optimal Pathway for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines,” Able Seaman Wightman said.

“The opportunities for Australian submariners, both at sea and ashore, that will become available because of this trilateral partnership is exciting.

“Most notably, having the opportunity to be embedded with the UK Royal Navy and the US Navy to facilitate the training and development of our Australian submarine workforce and our ability to take on responsibilities within these programs.”

Another prospective submariner, Seaman Blake Lewis, said he was drawn to submarines because of the sophisticated equipment and technology involved and the enormous role they play to protect Australian interests.

“I am really excited for the future and the opportunities that will become available under the new AUKUS agreement,” Seaman Lewis said.

“It definitely played a role for me deciding to transfer work groups.”


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