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Life in a
A saga of a sailor
returning home from the
By CMDR Gerard
McLennan RAN retired
A Captain of a modern guided missile frigate faces
his last day at sea after 25 years naval service. This
insightful tale of a naval career spans the golden
years of the Australian post-war navy and the many
adventures of being a Captain of a modern warship.
The novel is available at the
special launch price of $40 for
one book or two for $60. (Plus
For Book Order Form: email@example.com or 02 99682463
This is Gerard McLennan's first
factional novel based on his life
Also available in Canberra at the ADFA bookshop
October 15, 2009
By LCDR Trish Matthews and
CMDR Steve Dunning
WHEN former Renmark High School
student Natasha Mitchell decided
to take a year off after completing
Year 12 studies, she remembered her
father's suggestion that the ADF Gap
Year sounded like a good option.
So she thought she would "check
it out" for herself, ended up joining,
and recently went back to her local
community in the Riverland to talk
with students about the Navy and the
opportunities she had enjoyed as a Gap
"I thought it would be a different
and valuable experience to undertake
during my year off from study," she
"The Navy appealed to me, in par-
ticular, because I was interested in
going to sea and experiencing a differ-
ent way of life."
SMNGX Mitchell undertook the
initial 11 week recruit course with
Class GE 254 at HMAS Cerberus in
February 2008 and followed it with the
four week seamanship course.
SMNGX Mitchell said the 12
months that followed were an amaz-
ing learning experience and one where
she experienced many challenges and
made many new friends.
SMN Mitchell was posted to
HMAS Manoora where she gained
experience in all departments.
She described the highlights as
going overseas in HMAS Manoora,
travelling to Samoa and both of the
New Zealand islands.
"It was great fun," she said. "I also
enjoyed doing some of the training at
recruit school such as the fire-fighting
and damage control."
When asked her thoughts on the
Gap Year, an enthusiastic SMNGX
Mitchell said she would recommend it
to all school leavers as "a great experi-
ence that you wouldn't get anywhere
"While it was a little bit daunting
at first, it met all my expectations,"
"I found it was a great team envi-
ronment and everyone went out of
their way to make the experience a
great learning opportunity for me and
the other Gap Year sailors.
"If you are considering joining up,
the Gap Year gives you a really good
insight as to what actually happens in
"I have learnt how the Navy has
quite a different lifestyle and culture
compared to the civilian world and
that you always have to be ready and
After completing her Gap Year
SMNGX Mitchell said she was
inspired, on the suggestion of one of
the Navy's Gap Year staff just before
her discharge, to transfer to the
Reserve rather than sever her connec-
tions with Navy.
"It was a great suggestion and if it
hadn't been for that advice I wouldn't
have known about it," she said.
Currently employed in NHQ-SA's
parade and ceremonial unit since
joining the Navy Reserves, SMNGX
Mitchell has participated in Anzac Day
ceremonies and the 150th anniversary
of the sinking of the SS Admella in
Mount Gambier in August.
"I was also involved with the
Community Engagement Program
where we spoke to schools around the
Riverland," she said.
"This was a great opportunity to go
back to my local community and talk
with students about the Navy and the
By SBLT Carolyn Docking
RETURN to Tasmania for reservist musi-
cian CPO David Hardstaff after 18 months
on full-time service (CFTS) led to two out-
standing opportunities to demonstrate his
proficiency with the bugle.
The first was sounding The Last Post
and Reveille at the funeral for retired WWII
RAN veteran and later senior reservist, CAPT
Bertrand Dechaineux, at the Mariners' Church
at Hobart's Battery Point on September 8.
The second was during the visit of the
Chief of Navy, VADM Russ Crane, AM, CSM,
RAN, about a week later.
Tasmanian reservists were given the
opportunity to meet with VADM Crane on
VADM Crane gave a presentation to
reservists at NHQ-Tas and later chatted with
He then attended the unveiling ceremony
of the Navy Memorial Walk at Anzac Park in
the outer Hobart suburb of Lindisfarne.
It was excellent timing for CPO Hardstaff
to be involved in the visit as he returned to
Tasmania on August 28 after spending 18
months on CFTS at HMAS Cerberus.
"After CFTS, I was posted back to the
RAN Band-Tas Detachment, so I turned up
on the Monday night and was booked in for
former CAPT Dechaineaux's funeral and then
CN's visit a week later," he said.
CPO Hardstaff played the bugle during the
unveiling ceremony at Anzac Park.
"Playing in front of CN was no more
stressful than playing at the funeral," he said.
"All bugle calls are very stressful because you
only get one shot at it."
CPO Hardstaff had previously played
bugle calls at Anzac Park for the unveiling of
the first plaques to be erected before his most
recent posting on CFTS.
"It was good to come back and play for
the installation of the final plaques at Anzac
Park," he said.
CPO Hardstaff was initially posted to
the Engineering Faculty at Cerberus for his
"I then became the Assistant Divisional
Officer for Rogers Division, which is the hold-
ing cell handling trainee discharges," he said.
"I also handled category transfers for
sailors. I was then asked to stay for an extra
month at the Instructor Training Centre train-
ing in instructional technique.
CPO Hardstaff spent 20 years in the RAN
and said he had little difficulty assimilating
back into CFTS.
"I became a reservist in July 1997 and
have always been active and kept abreast of
changes in the Navy, so CFTS was relatively
easy for me," he said.
opportunities that I had as a Gap Year
Now in her first year of a Bachelor
of Arts degree at SA's Flinders
University and majoring in languag-
es (French, Spanish and Italian), 19-
year-old SMNGX Mitchell said she
was considering her future employ-
High on her priorities is a possible
career as an officer in the Navy.
Gap year student joins reserves
Hard bugling by reserve staff
ALL TOGETHER NOW: GAP Year sailors,SMNGXs Emily Erwin, Natasha
Mitchell, Emma Stowe, Breanna Black and Grace Ransley on the gang-
way of HMAS Kanimbla.
CONCENTRATION: CPO David Hardstaff.
Photos: SBLT Carolyn Docking
SPECIAL EVENT: CN VADM Crane with A/Flags
LEUT Angeline Lewis.
GREAT OCCASION: CPO David Hardstaff at the unveiled plaque -- the new-
est and final plaque to be installed in the Memorial Park.
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