Stoked to set an example

Work to make a guided missile destroyer more capable and reliable were just some of more than 100 improvements overseen by an engineering officer honoured in this year’s Australia Day awards.

CAPTIONEngineering Officer Lieutenant Parritt in front of HMAS Hobart, Sydney, NSW. Story by Corporal Jacob Joseph. Photo by Able Seaman Lucinda Allanson.

Lieutenant Matthew Parritt received a Conspicuous Service Medal for prioritising and managing projects to improve HMAS Brisbane’s operational effectiveness and rectifying urgent safety issues, such as producing strategies for managing potable water systems, occupational noise exposure and adherence to isolations policy.

“There were some pretty significant defects and tasks throughout this period,” Lieutenant Parritt said.

“I had trust from my supervisors to prioritise the issues based on my risk management assessments.”

Topping the list was noise from the ship’s propulsion systems.

He trialled and made significant progress in implementing a new digital procedure for isolating equipment onboard guided missile destroyers. Much of this work was driven remotely due to COVID restrictions.

He said although working from home could be challenging, being away from the office gave him space to ponder the best way to tackle the huge task list.

“My day wasn’t filled with casual conversations like it is in a normal office environment,” he said.

“I had to find something to keep myself busy and I had freedom to go after the priorities.”

Those involved with putting Lieutenant Parritt’s name forward said his initiative with minimal direction and oversight was an example for all to follow, and he became a trusted source about engineering changes for industry, APS and Defence alike.

Now posted to HMAS Hobart as the Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Parritt was “stoked” to receive the award.

“I know some people who have the same award, and it was a shock to know I was working at that level,” he said.

“The environment and teams I was working with at the time have definitely shaped how I try to manage teams now, and being the first individual award I received, the feeling is going to stay with me for a long time.”


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